BEIRUT — Relatives of victims of the explosion at the port of Beirut on Aug. 4, 2020 filed a complaint in Texas on Monday, with the support of the Swiss foundation, Accountability Now.
Here’s what we know:
• The complaint was filed against the American-Norwegian geophysical services group TGS ASA.
• TGS owns Spectrum Geo (UK), a geophysical services company that it merged with in 2019, and which entered into a series of highly profitable but “suspicious contracts with the Ministry of Energy in Lebanon,” according to the press release published.
• The claim was filed on July 11, 2022 by Ford O'Brien Tandy LLP, acting as lead counsel on this case.
• It is in the performance of its 2012 contract that Spectrum chartered the derelict Moldavian-flagged vessel Rhosus, to come to Beirut while carrying 2750 tonnes of “military-grade ammonium nitrate aboard.”
• “For nearly two years, plaintiffs have watched helplessly as the same corrupt political environment in which the Beirut blast occurred continues to delay justice for the victims.,” the press release stated.
• The lawsuit aims at recovering damages for the loss of human life and property that resulted from the blast.
• The case will aim at helping to uncover the wider network of corruption and the chain of responsibilities that led to the blast.
• Accountability Now stated that it will continue assisting the Lebanese civil society in its “quest to end impunity in Lebanon.”
Entrusted to judge Tarek Bitar, the investigation in Lebanon has been suspended for months because of the numerous appeals presented against him by several political and security officials whom he is summoning for questioning.