Croatia, Extraordinary audit of INA’s gas business requested

, SEE Energy News

Croatian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Davor Filipovic said that will request an extraordinary audit of natural gas business of the national oil company INA in the period from 2020 until today.

On 27 August, Croatia’s anti-corruption office (USKOK) launched an operation in which five persons were arrested, including INA’s executive Damir Skugor, on suspicion of illegal gas trading and money laundering. Namely, the suspects allegedly took advantage of the constant rise in natural gas prices on the global market, with OMS Ulaganja buying gas below market prices from Plinara Istocna Slavonija, which had a gas purchase agreement with INA at favorable prices, and selling it on the international market at market prices. They allegedly spent the money thus obtained on the purchase of real estate. Investigator claim that the suspects were purchasing gas from INA at 19.5 euros and were selling at the price of 28 euros. Damages to INA are estimated over 130 million euros.

The main suspect, head of INA’s gas and electricity division Damir Skugor, said that he is not guilty and that everything was done in accordance with the company’s business policy.

Minister Filipovic said that an independent audit will examine all contracts, gas procurement and sale prices, and the conditions under which business partners signed those contracts with INA. Regarding his involvement, Filipovic said that the contract in question was signed two years before ha joined INA’s Supervisory Board.

The Management and the Supervisory Board of INA did not make any decisions on the signing of the disputed contracts, because Skugor, who was a fourth level manager, had the authority to sign contracts up to 20 million euros, with the co- signature of his deputy.