Samherji

Operating in a system of resource management where the aim is sustainable fishing

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Letter to employees

Samherji_logoDear coworkers.

Letter_to_Samherji_employees_191205It does not happen every day that the company is attacked with the force we have witnessed in the last few weeks. Samherji tried to respond to the allegations put forward in a responsible manner. Its manifestations were twofold. On the one hand, Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson, the CEO of Samherji, temporarily stepped aside and on the other the board of Samherji hired the Norwegian law firm Wikborg Rein to investigate the accusations.

We already see that a large part of the accusations made against Samherji are unfounded. Recently, we corrected the wrong stories published by Stundin newspaper and RÚV about the company Cape Cod FS. As stated in an announcement on Samherji's website, Cape Cod FS was never owned by Samherji or its affiliates, but it was owned by JPC Shipmanagement which provided companies affiliated with Samherji with crewing of vessels in the group's operations. The fact that Samherji never owned Cape Cod FS means that there is no basis for the money laundering allegations related to payments to the company. Samherji's attorneys have met with both the tax authorites in Iceland and the The District Prosecutor and have provided them with all relevant information about this. Attorneys from Wikborg Rein also met with The District Prosecutor and have been in contact with the Norwegian Economic Crime Department, Økokrim in Oslo.

A total of 18,497 emails have been published from Jóhannes Stefánsson's mailbox from 2014-2016. We have learned that Jóhannes only handed over 42% of emails from the period in question because 44,028 emails from the period in question were in is inbox.

This method, to cherry-pick emails, must raise more questions than it answers. What is the content of the unpublished emails? Why were the periods in question chosen but not the whole period? The fact that 58% of the emails were never published must be food for thought for those who believe that Jóhannes Stefánsson's account of events is correct and consistent with the truth. 

Samherji is currently analyzing other allegations against the company than those mentioned above. Many of them are very serious, but so far only one side has been covered in the media. It is difficult for the company and its employees to remain silent under this. You can rest assured that we will respond to all these allegations. However, I urge you to be patient and understanding because this will take time.

The widespread attack on the company over the past few weeks has been an even more difficult task than the one we faced in The Central Bank Case. However, we know that together we will endure this. I want you to know that Samherji's executives are indefinitely grateful for your contribution to the company. Without you, the company would not be a leader in the European fisheries industry. We will do everything we can to ensure it continues that way.

Best regards,

Björgólfur Jóhannsson
interim CEO of Samherji

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Cherry-picked emails

Recently, Samherji has examined the data that Wikileaks has published about the company, which is mainly a large volume of emails from Jóhannes Stefánsson's mailbox. This is the data the media has used in its coverage of the activities of companies affiliated with Samherji in Namibia.

Jóhannes had at least 44,028 emails in his mailbox between 2014 and 2016. He handed over 18,497 emails from that period to Wikileaks, which means he only gave Wikileaks 42% of the emails. Most of the emails that Jóhannes decided not to hand over are from 2015. He does not appear to have sent Wikileaks any emails from that year if some mail from January is excluded. This can be clearly seen on the following graph.

Cherry-picked_emails

This method, to cherry-pick emails, must raise more questions than it answers. What is the content of the unpublished emails? Why were the periods in question chosen but not the whole period? Is there a discrepancy in the data that was not released and the data covered so far by the media?

The fact that 58% of the emails were never published must be food for thought for those who believe that Jóhannes Stefánsson's account of events is correct and consistent with the truth. The members of the media that have covered this story also have to consider if .......

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Samherji never owned or controlled Cape Cod FS

Earlier this month, 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.

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.

 "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. 

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Products

Samherji is involved in all stages of the value chain from fishing, farming and processing to export and sales. All Samherji produce is sourced from sustainable fisheries.

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Operations in Iceland

Samherji is a vertically integrated seafood company, operating a fleet of fishing vessels, fish factories and fish farming.  Samherji also exports its own production under the "Ice Fresh Seafood" brand. 

 

Operations abroad

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Icefresh Seafood LTD

Ice Fresh Seafood emphasises on sales activities, excellent service both for suppliers and customers as well as sales for other producers.

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The company

Samherji is a vertically integrated seafood company, operating a fleet of fishing vessels, fish factories and fish farming.  Samherji also exports its own production under the "Ice Fresh Seafood" brand. 

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Samherji hf.
Glerárgötu 30
600 Akureyri, Iceland

Phone +354 560 9000
Fax +354 560 9199

samherji(hjá)samherji.is

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