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Statoil cancelled illegal contract

Økokrim raided Statoil’s offices outside Stavanger Thursday evening, and charged the company of breaching Norwegian law in regards to a consultant contract. The contract was been cancelled with immediate effect Friday morning.

It was announced at a press conference that Olav Fjell, group CEO, made the decision to cancel with immediate effect the contract providing consultancy services regarding business development in Iran.

“The agreement was cancelled in order to remove every doubt regarding whether or not Statoil follow ethical guidelines,” Olav Fjell said in a statement.

Suspects corruption

Økokrim, a Norwegian specialty branch which investigate economic and environmental crimes, filed a charge against the Norwegian Statoil after a raid Thursday, according to the financial daily, Dagens Næringsliv.

The background for the raid is apparently Dagens Næringsliv’s recent regarding the consultant agreement between Statoil and the Iranian Abbas Yazdi and his company Horton investment. Yazdi is supposed to supply consultant services for the oil company over a ten year period with a price tag of NOK 110 million. More than NOK 40 million has already been paid to an account in Switzerland. The company is registered in a tax paradise in the Caribbean.

Statoil has entered into an agreement with Yazdi to pay NOK 115 million over ten years for him to supply the company with advice regarding Iran, money which most likely ends up in the hands of the Iranian Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of one of the subsidiary of the Iranian national oil company Nioc.

As a result of the concelled contract, Statoil and Horton Investment agreed that Statoil would not pay more than the US$ 5.2 million already been paid.

Not according to Norwegian law

Leif Terje Løddesøl, chairman in Statoil, stated that he does not know if the charge is against the company or against employees, but he said to NRK that the charge is connected with the fact that Økokrim claims that the consultant agreement is not according to Norwegian law.

If the charge is against the company, it will be directed at the board through the chairman.

“The most important thing right now is to get a clarification, and the police’s investigations are a part of this work,” said Løddesøl.

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