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Namibian crisis: Samherji reports that never owned or controlled Cape Cod FS

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Monday, December 02, 2019, 01:10 (GMT + 9)

In a press release Samherji reports that earlier this November, Samherji hired the law firm Wikborg Rein in Norway to assist in investigating the allegations made against the company because of its operations in Namibia. Priority was given to reviewing payments to the company Cape Cod FS.

Stundin and RÚV have stated that Samherji owned the company Cape Cod FS and that JPC Shipmanagement, which provided services to Samherji’s companies, “held” the ownership of Cape Cod FS for Samherji. This is wrong, and there is nothing in Wikborg Rein's investigation that indicates otherwise. Samherji does not own and has never owned Cape Cod FS and has never assigned others to “hold” the ownership of the company.

Cape Cod FS was owned by JPC Shipmanagement, which provided companies affiliated with Samherji with crewing of vessels in the group's operations. Purchasing the services of such companies is well known in international shipping operations.

Both Stundin and RÚV have incorrectly stated that about 70 million dollars was paid to Cape Cod FS because of operations in Namibia. The fact is that 28,9 million dollars was paid to the company in relation to operations in Namibia Samherji.

It has been stated in the Icelandic media that the payments to Cape Cod FS are unexplained and abnormal. This is wrong. Namibia has capital controls. In order to make payments out of the Namibian economy various documents are required to verify the payment due to the controls. For this reason, information on payments to each crew member along with a copy of his passport has to be sent to the bank that handles the transactions, which forwards the information to The Bank of Namibia. In order to ensure that all crew members were paid in accordance with their contract, the payments were reviewed by both Cape Cod FS and an employee of a company affiliated with Samherji before the transactions were made.

The amounts that were paid to Cape Cod FS were reviewed. The investigation suggests that the payments were in line with market fees at the time. It was an extensive operation and therefore the amounts paid to the company were not unreasonable due to salaries paid to crew members over a long period of time comments finally in his statement Samherji.

 "The allegations made about the ownership of Cape Cod and the payments made to the company are wrong. The investigation will continue and the relevant authorities will be provided with all findings,” says Björgólfur Jóhannsson, the interim CEO of Samherji. It is expected that Stundin, RÚV and others will correct wrong news reports that have been published about Cape Cod FS.

On the other hand, Reuters reported that the Norwegian police are investigating DNB (DNB.OL), the country’s largest bank, to establish whether any laws were broken in its handling of payments from an Icelandic fisheries firm to Namibia, police and the bank said on Thursday.

The investigation follows a report by Iceland’s public broadcaster this month that said Icelandic fisheries group Samherji had made illicit payments worth millions of dollars to secure fishing quotas in Namibia.

Samherji and DNB have both denied wrongdoing.

The case has led to the arrest of Namibia’s former justice minister and cast a shadow over the country’s ruling party as it contests an election.

“The goal of the investigation is to establish what happened and whether crimes were committed,” the white-collar crimes unit of the Norwegian police force said in a statement.

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