Peru bans Repsol execs from leaving country after oil spill

LIMA, Peru — A Peruvian judge on Friday banned Repsol’s Peru director and three other executives from leaving the country for 18 months while the government investigates an oil spill at a refinery run by the Spain-based company.

Peru authorities are investigating Repsol following the oil spill on Jan. 15, which was reported after surging waves caused by the eruption of an underwater volcano near Tonga.

Peru declared last week an environmental emergency after announcing that 21 beaches on its Pacific coast were contaminated by the spill of 6,000 barrels. The crime of environmental pollution was also investigated by the authorities.

Judge Romualdo Aguedo imposed the ban after considering there’s a “potential risk” that Repsol’s Peru director, Jaime Fernandez-Cuesta, and three executives would leave the country. According to the company, it is cooperating in the investigations and working with authorities on cleaning up the affected beaches.

Repsol hired more than 2,000 people, including local fishermen, to clean the beaches. It also promises to send food boxes to the families affected.

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