Ballina Petroleum boss convicted over foul fuel

By HELEN JACK helen.jack@northernstar.com.au BALLINA Petroleum boss Santo Pennisi has been convicted of fraud and faces sentence next month.

Justice Spender convicted the Ballina businessman in the Brisbane Federal Court and ordered he be sentenced on December 18.

Pennisi and his company, Dojoo Pty Ltd, trading as Ballina Petroleum Distributors, faced 28 charges of making false representations about the quality and composition of fuel sold at 12 local BP service stations. The prosecutor and defendants have until Monday to make written submissions on sentence.

Criminal proceedings agai-%nst Pennisi were initiated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleging Dojoo caused two million litres of unleaded petrol to be delivered to its various service stations and put in tanks containing Premium, Ultimate and lead-replacement petrol on September 14, 2004, and June 22, 2007, resulting in lower octane-rated fuel being sold.

A number of BP customers have joined forces to stage a class action suit against Ballina Petroleum as a result of the ACCC action.

Somerville Laundry Lomax is leading the action. Solicitor Ben Robin said any suit would have to wait until criminal proceedings had been completed.

"We are gathering information on behalf of claimants and others are still making inquiries to join the class action,'' he said.

"We are still accepting claimant registrations, with the new cut-off date now November 17."



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