Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority, EMRA, fined 20 oil fuel stations a total of approx. 10 million Turkish liras (about $3.46 million), Turkish Official Gazette showed on Thursday.
EMRA detected unlawful practices during regular inspections to oil stations they perform accompanied with Turkish security forces and officials from several related ministries.
During the inspections EMRA discovered several illegal activities, including hidden oil tanks, hacked automation machines to prevent showing the correct sales amount, additional by-products to mix with oil, fuel smuggling and the absence of an obligatory managing director on the premises to oversee activities.
In addition to cash fines, EMRA started judicial proceedings for station officials who were involved with fuel smuggling, an official announcement in Turkish official gazette said.
Smugglers who are found guilty, will be sentenced to at least one to five years in prison. However if the goods are oil related, the minimum prison term is three years, according to Turkey's anti-smuggling law.
Furthermore, EMRA served a legal notification on the serving of investigation reports which were sent to 13 other firms for illegal activities. The firms are legally obliged to send in their defense statements within 15 days after the notice is served, otherwise, the investigations will be concluded without defense statements.
By Muhsin Baris Tiryakioglu