New Jersey City Closes Lukoil Franchise Businesses Over Russian Ties

The Newark, New Jersey City Council has frozen the operating licenses of Russian oil company franchises, including two Lukoil stations.

New Jersey City Closes Lukoil Franchise Businesses

The council voted unanimously to request the city administrator to suspend Lukoil’s operations in Newark. The suspension was immediately criticized by Lukoil’s owner, who opposed the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stated that he was a US citizen.

Decision ‘Not intended to harm the local population’

Other criticisms of the suspension of the business license have been the loss of employment for the local population working at the stations. North Ward Council member Anibal Ramos replied that the decision was temporary and not intended to harm local residents.

Ramos also said that local companies provide new employment opportunities for those who lose their jobs at Lukoil.

‘Stunned and confused’ by decision

In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Councilor Ramos said: “We recognize that Lukoil PJSC is the second largest oil producer in Russia. There are certainly ties between Lukoil and the Russian government.

“A number of oligarchs are involved in the property. Since 2014, the US has imposed very targeted sanctions against Lukoil. What we did is we passed a resolution asking the city manager to suspend the operating license for Lukoil gas stations in Newark. At the moment we have two doing business in our city that require a municipal permit.”

The owner of the Lukoil station, Roger Verma, spoke to a local CBS affiliate to say: “I support Ukraine and I fully support Russian sanctions. However, I am baffled and confused how closing a US-based small business owner is an act of support.”

Ramos refuted the complaints by telling Fox: “The franchise owner himself, when he appeared at the press conference yesterday, acknowledged that the property where his franchise is actually located is directly owned by Lukoil.

“For us, it is within our jurisdiction to grant business licenses within the city. We recognize that Lukoil has direct ties to Russia, and Russia is currently leading the attack on this invasion of Ukraine, threatening the lives and even killing of thousands of Ukrainians. This is the city of Newark standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine in the struggle for democracy.”

Bakery offers alternative employment

One of the local employers offering jobs to people displaced by the Lukoil suspension is Paramount Bakery. How ‘temporary’ the suspension of the business license is remains unknown.

Image: Depositphotos

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