THE PARLIAMENT IS ASKING FOR INFORMATION CONCERNING THE INVESTIGATIONS WHICH OMV PETROM HAS BEEN SUBJECTED TO

OMV Petrom only answers the questions it wants

16 nov. 2017 English Section
ANCUŢA STANCIU (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
OMV Petrom only answers the questions it wants

Minister Toma Petcu, former ministers Răzvan Nicolescu and Victor Grigorescu, the representatives of the state in the executive structure of OMV Petrom and Mihai Busuioc, the president of the Court of Auditors were heard today in the Investigation Commission 

The executives of OMV Petrom mentioned, in a letter addressed to the parliament, the existence of four lawsuits brought by the National Energy Regulation Authority (ANRE) and of seven audits by the Authority, between 2012-2017, as the recent request for information by the Commission for the Investigation of the activity of the ANRE targeted a period of 12 years, from 2015 to 2017.

Last week, Iulian Iancu, the president of the Commission, has asked for a list of the letters and addresses by which OMV Petrom was informed by the ministries or other state institutions about the investigations or lawsuits concerning suspicions or accusations of the company's violation of the law, between 2005-2017.

The management of OMV Petrom only sent a letter to the members of parliament and only mentioned the ANRE, and said nothing about the other institutions, nor did it mention any audits it may have been subjected to.

Prior to the sending of the audits and litigations with the ANRE, the management of OMV Petrom found it appropriate to inform the members of the Investigative Commission of the ANRE that the request has an overly broad scope and obviously exceeds the objectives of the Commission for the Investigation of the activity of the ANRE.

Also, OMV Petrom is telling the MPs that if he were to perform such an inventorying, it would require the checking of a huge volume of mail and archives, and also that it is impossible to estimate how long that inventorying would take: "The period you requested (2005-2017) represents more than 12 years, far above the archiving obligations required by the law in certain situations".

In the letter addressed to the MPs, the management of OMV Petrom is also asking the members of the Commission to confirm whether the information it sent fulfills the request made by Iulian Iancu or to specify and clearly delineate the area of activity that he needs information about.

The answers of the management of OMV Petrom come following the request of Iulian Iancu, the president of the Commission for the investigation of the activity of the ANRE, who recently asked the CEO of OMV Petrom, Mrs. Mariana Gheorghe, to tell the Commission whether OMV Petrom or its subsidiaries have received from the institutions of the state or from ministries, between 2005-2017, notices by which the company is being informed about OMV Petrom being investigated or sued following the breaking of the legal provisions by OMV Petrom. In a letter, Iancu asked Mariana Gheorghe to make available to him, in writing or electronically, information about the institution which started the investigation, the audit, their outcomes and the sanctions that were decided or imposed, if applicable.

Today, in the hearings of the Commission for the Investigation of the activity of the ANRE, were expected Toma Petcu - the Energy Minister, former ministers Răzvan Nicolescu and Victor Vlad Grigorescu, Sevil Shhaideh, provisional member on the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom, as well as member of the Audit Committee, Spiridon Cojocaru - member of the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom, member of the Audit Committee of OMV Petrom, Mihai Busuioc - the president of the Court of Auditors, former member of the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom, member of the Audit Committee of OMV Petrom.

Last week, Dumitru Costin, the president of the National Union Block (BNS), stated in the Parliamentary Commission for the investigation of the activity of the ANRE, that OMV Petrom has prejudiced the Romanian state with 7 billion lei, according to some audits conducted by the Court of Auditors, but since 2015 the money has still not been recouped. Iulian Iancu, the president of the Commission, said: "Dumitru Costin, the head of the National Union Block, (BNS), presented to the Commission for the Investigation of the activity of the ANRE a document which has also been submitted to the Romanian government, specifically to the General Secretariat of the Government, to the attention of the prime-minister, in which Costin says that he has received from the Romanian authorities documents concerning OMV, which describe investigations at various stages concerning tax evasion when it comes to salaries, VAT, the modification of the formula and the incorrect payment of royalties by OMV, which, according to the presented data, resulted in a loss of over 1 billion Euros, data backed by the report of the Court of Auditors. That document states that the findings have resulted in a lawsuit. Also discussed are price hikes in the estimates for the soil decontamination of the oil wells areas, as well as the failure to record the assets, plots of land, buildings in accounting and implicitly the causing of a loss to the Romanian state. Based on the data presented by Mr. Costin, the loss has reached 7 billion lei. The numbers are mind-numbing.

The Investigation Commission will ask for all these documents from the institutions which investigated these Petrom behaviors, will discuss them and implicitly, we will send them for analysis and request an answer from all the institutions which are directly tasked with the resolution of this type of behavior. The members of the investigative commission of the activity of the ANRE have requested yesterday the presence before the Commission of former president of the Court of Accounts, Mr. Nicolae Văcăroiu, as well as the current president Mihai Busuioc. Let's hope that following the analysis performed together with them and of the conclusions found in the report of the Court of Auditors, we will understand what those offenses have consisted of".

The current president of the Court of Auditors, Mihai Busuioc, who is considered close to Liviu Dragnea, was appointed secretary general of the Government in January, by then prime-minister Sorin Grindeanu, and was a member on the Supervisory Board of OMV Petrom between April 28, 2017 and until October 17, 2017.

OMV Petrom last week denied the accusations that it failed to pay its taxes, which were made in the November 9th session of the Parliamentary Commission for the investigation of the activity of the ANRE, according to a press release sent to the editors. The representatives of the company said: "Over the years, the company has been the subject of several audits by the tax administration, which have been completed. The last fiscal audit, which concerned the oil and natural gas royalties for the 2011-2015 period, was completed without any findings in the second quarter of this year". The company's officials claim that they have always paid on time and fairly any taxes owed to the state budget.

In the press release, the representatives of OMV Petrom were also saying that increasingly, the activity of the Parliamentary Commission to investigate the activity of the ANRE creates room for the denigration and accusation of OMV Petrom, straying from its objectives set by the Parliament.

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