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Houthi official says over $13bn of Yemen’s oil wealth ‘looted’ over 5 years

August 4, 2022 at 4:24 pm

A Yemeni oil worker looks out at the Aden oil refinery on 5 September 2016 [SALEH AL-OBEIDI/AFP/Getty Images]

An official in Yemen’s Houthi-led government has claimed that the Saudi-led coalition and their proxies have “looted” more than $13 billion in Yemeni oil revenues between 2016 and 2021.

Abdul Malik Al-Ajri, who is a member of the National Negotiation Delegation said in a tweet yesterday, citing what he said were figures in a report by OAPEC [Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries] and “in addition to our findings through the Marine Traffic website, which specialises in monitoring maritime traffic”. Al-Ajri also described the Saudi-based Yemeni government as “mercenaries” who generated the revenues.

Local news website noted that the large amount could have been used to pay the salaries of employees in the de-facto government, reduce the exchange rate and help improve the living standards for Yemenis and alleviate their suffering.

The revenues, which account for 80 per cent of the country’ general budget could have been invested in Yemen, “instead of being supplied to the National Bank of Saudi Arabia or directed towards personal investments in the countries of Turkey, Egypt and the Gulf”, the article said.

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In a report about similar claims last month, Yemeni Oil Company spokesman, Issam Al-Mutawakkil, was quoted as saying “Yemen as an oil producing nation is suffering the same as countries that don’t possess any oil wealth”, adding that “Yemen doesn’t benefit from the crude oil revenues that are exported to the Saudi National Commercial Bank.”

Today the Yemen Press Agency, citing sources, reported that the Saudi-backed Yemeni government has sold crude oil produced from the fields of Hadhramaut Province, in eastern Yemen. According to the sources, the coalition-backed government sold two million barrels of Al-Masila crude oil worth $180 million. The Greek giant oil tanker, “Maran Canopus”, is on its way to the port of Dhaba to load the quantity over the next two days.

“These huge amounts of revenues from Marib, Shabwa and Hadhramaut oil are not provided to the Central Bank of Yemen, but go to accounts belonging to coalition-backed officials, at the Saudi National Bank in Jeddah, at a time when employees are in poor living conditions as a result of the government’s cut-off of their salaries.”

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