Argentina threatens banks linked to Falklands oil firms

Marion Dakers
ARGENTINA has threatened legal action against banks linked to oil explorers in the Falklands, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of its war with Britain over the islands.

Just weeks after Buenos Aires ramped up its objections to British firms in the region, its embassy has sent letters in Spanish to 15 banks warning that “all companies potentially involved, either directly or indirectly” could be subject to legal action and boycotts.

Even banks that only publish research on the Falkland explorers could be sued, according to the letter.

A handful of UK-listed firms are actively searching for potentially lucrative oil and gas deposits in the Falklands: Desire Petroleum, Borders & Southern, Falkland Oil & Gas and Rockhopper.

They have already been threatened with criminal and civil action by Argentina’s foreign minister Hector Timerman, who called their activities “illegal” and “illegitimate”.

Banks that have received the latest batch of threatening letters, thought to include RBS, Oriel Securities and Goldman Sachs, declined to comment yesterday.

The Argentinean embassy in London, which remains closed today to commemorate the start of the 1982 war, did not return calls for comment. The UK foreign office said its “efforts to intimidate the Falklands are illegal and wholly counter-productive”.