Statement from Samherji

Press release

It has recently been brought to our attention that a former executive of a subsidiary of the company in Namibia, Jóhannes Stefánsson, has spoken to the media and made serious allegations against Samherji's executives, both current and former. We take this very seriously and have engaged the international law firm Wikborg Rein based in Norway to assist us in  thorough investigation of our operations in Africa. Until the investigation has been concluded we will not comment on specific allegations.

We have especially requested to have background discussions with reporters from the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, to provide information that we believe is relevant to the proposed coverage. Our request has been rejected by the editor because the reporters are only willing to talk with us in front of a camera. We believe that the information we hold is of such nature that it would be unreasonable with regards to the interests of individuals concerned.

"All the activities of Samherji and its affiliates were under investigation by authorities for years and no wrongdoings were ever found. All our accounting, e-mails and all other data were thoroughly examined, including that of the companies that have been operating in African waters since 2007. We will not now, like in the past, accept false and misleading allegations of a former employee who once again are prepared by the same parties and media as in the Central Bank-case a few years back," says Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson, CEO of Samherji.

At this point in time we believe it is important to disclose that in the beginning of 2016 we came to suspect that something was wrong with our operations in Namibia. In order to get better information, we hired a former police officer from The Special Prosecutor’s office to go to Namibia and look into the matter. His investigation led to the dismissal of the aforementioned employee in mid-2016 for unacceptable behavior and conduct. Since then our staff has been trying to take control of our operations in Namibia. During this process the former employee has demanded large sums of money from Samherji alongside his colleagues.

Samherji has made an effort to work in accordance with the laws and regulations that apply in the countries in which we have operations. In this context, we have worked closely with the government of Namibia, both with the tax authorities and the Bank of Namibia. Since late 2016 all VAT-taxed companies in Namibia have been required to undergo a thorough inspection by the tax authorities every two months during which all accounts are reviewed. This applies to our companies, like all other companies in Namibia.

It has been known from the beginning that the Samherji operations in Namibia were only temporary. We have entered into agreements with various quota holders where the durations have been anywhere between a few months to five years. All the agreements in question have now expired. In recent years, the government of Namibia has been implementing a lot of changes in the fishing industry with the objective of Namibianising the fishing industry. Those changes include reducing the use of pelagic trawlers and instead focusing on land-based factory process with fresh fish vessels. The emphasis on Namibian ownership and management has also increased.

As a result, we have already sold one vessel and since the beginning of this year we have been negotiating the sale of all other operations in Namibia to domestic parties.

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