The money trail with this unethical banking starts with Trafigura, which paid South Sudan millions of dollars in 2015 and 2016. The funds came in the form of pre-payments for oil that would be delivered in the future, a practice criticized by the IMF as nontransparent.

Though the money paid to South Sudan went through their central bank, it didn’t stay there. An internal U.N. document verified that in October 2015 Trafigura designated $50 million of the oil pre-payment to the Green Horizon farming project.

Shortly an internal Global email referred to a $50 million transfer from Trafigura to the central bank that didn’t go through. Employees were ordered to follow up and make sure the money was received.

A South Sudanese government document showed that the Finance Ministry ordered $45 million from a Trafigura payment to be transferred from the central bank to Global’s account (with $5 million unaccounted for). This transfer seems to be for the Green Horizon project.

More details on the transfers among Trafigura, central bank and Global. Click to enlarge. Credit: OCCRP
More details on the transfers among Trafigura, central bank and Global. Click to enlarge.
Credit: OCCRP

This wasn’t the only money exchanged between Trafigura and Global through the Central Bank of South Sudan. A Global email indicated that in May 2016 Trafigura sent $8.4 million to the Central Bank; and the following month a Trafigura email indicated the company sent another $81.7 million.

According to a former Global employee and a government source, the Central Bank sent similar amounts to Global.

A Trafigura representative declined to comment on the company’s relationship with Global or Ziv, but said “all pre-payments [for crude oil] were made into bank accounts of the Central Bank of South Sudan.”

For his part, Ziv denied any knowledge of Trafigura oil money being sent to the Green Horizon project. He said:

“It’s not [like] Trafigura gave me the money as a triangle arrangement or contract.”

OCCRP writes:

When renewed fighting broke out in South Sudan in July 2016, Trafigura ensured Global’s project had access to fuel for its generators and tractors, according to Erneo Balasio Peter Tombe, Green Horizon’s government coordinator. Tombe told OCCRP he was present at a meeting at Global’s office with Trafigura and the agriculture ministry both in attendance.

When OCCRP visited one of Green Horizon’s four farms in 2017, Minister of Defense Kuol Manyang was there on what was described as a routine visit. The sign outside Global’s office in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, included the country’s military seal — which was removed just days after receiving questions from a reporter about the affiliation.

The U.S. sanctioned Global states that the Defense Ministry was only training former soldiers in agriculture for a short-term small project outside Juba and to provide security for Global’s employees and the plots.

However, emails between Global employees August indicate that Trafigura and Global were involved with the Defense Ministry. A Global employee requested information from Trafigura regarding contacts and negotiations with other parties, including the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining be shared with the Defense Minister.

According to OCCRP, links between the Green Horizons agricultural project and senior military figures in South Sudan, such as the Minister of Defense. Klem Ryan (the former coordinator of the U.N. Security Council’s expert panel on South Sudan) said that these links “should automatically have raised question marks over these transactions.”