A year after a massive shipment of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut, an OCCRP investigation has settled one of the biggest lingering questions: who actually owned the cargo. A trail of documents reveals a decades-old chemical-trading network controlled by Ukrainians, hidden behind a veil of proxies and shell firms.
- A Ukrainian businessman named Volodymyr Verbonol and partners were behind the company that owned the ammonium nitrate shipment.
- The company was part of a sprawling, decades-old network involved in chemical trading since at least the early 2000s.
- The network disguised its operations behind at least half a dozen trade names and various strawmen and shell companies.
- Offshore service providers in Cyprus and the United Kingdom facilitated the network’s operations.
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By Graham Stack (OCCRP), Rana Sabbagh (OCCRP), Aleksey Kovalev (Meduza), Nino Bakradze (ifact.ge), and Sarunas Cerniauskas (OCCRP) contributed reporting, September 14, 2021, Published by OCCRP
Pic Credit: Edin Pašović/OCCRP