Serbia: What is the background of the investigation of Oil company NIS sale to GazpromNeft?

28. August 2014. / News Serbia Energy

Vladimir Yakovlev, First Deputy General Director of “Gazprom Neft”, is surprised by the ongoing investigation in connection with NIS sale.In the days when all the bells announce that food export from Serbia to Russia, at a time when official Moscow imposes sanctions to the European Union, Serbia neither more nor less than by opening of an investigation on the sale of the Oil Industry of Serbia to Russia from the ground, rocks current relations with that country, not only economically, but also politically.

How, otherwise, to interpret differently decision of Nebojsa Stefanovic, the Interior Minister, who launched an police investigation three days ago in order to examine all the facts and circumstances relating to NIS privatization.

Informed say that behind the story and the police introduction is likely to stand the Government pressure on “Gazprom Neft” to take “Petrochemistry” at any cost, that owes NIS more than 20 MEUR for the delivered gasoline, and has no money to pay it. Otherwise, the debt of 86 MEUR was created even in 2009th , why was signed an agreement on debt rescheduling between NIS and “Petrochemistry” for a period of five years until September 1st, 2014th .

On the other hand, NIS should pay dividends in August but there is no money as public companies owned by the state owed ​​about 425 MEUR to NIS.

Intergovernmental agreement, as it is known, signed six years ago between Russia and Serbia, 51 percent of the company was sold for 400, plus 500 million investment in the modernization of the refinery. Besides the Russian majority owner, which today no one mentions, assumed the obligation to repay 1.1 billion dollars, how NIS borrowed during the period from 2000th to 2009th, and that no one has ever explained on what the money was spent.

The contract was roof and it provided that the construction of the South Stream pipeline through Serbia also was going together with the sale of 51 percent of NIS, as well as modernization of underground storage Banatski Dvor, which was also majority Russian-owned. The social programs provided that workers voluntary departure for each year of service would be paid 750 MEUR which was the highest severance pay ever given.

Zorana Mihajlovic, a former energy minister, is the first that publicly spoke about the poor Serbian negotiating with Russia, asking the question – who did dare to sell the NIS heart “Naftagas”, a company engaged in oil and gas exploration and why this part of the NIS is not preserved as a state- owned, because Serbia would now have the necessary oil security.

“Gazprom Neft” now owns 56.15 percent of NIS shares, 29.87 percent of the stake is owned by Serbia and the rest is in the hands of 2.7 million minority shareholders.

In the previous government, she fought battle with the then Minister of Mines Milan Bacevic that enabled NIS and extended the extraction of ore rents of three percent by 2023rd.

When all these facts are taken into account no one in Serbia has no right to be angry with the Russians, what the prime minister of Serbia confirmed yesterday, but to those who were negotiating on our behalf, but also on all past and current members of the Board of Directors and the President of the Assembly of Shareholders on the Serbian side, which have not really tear off to protect the interests of Serbia in NIS.

On the occasion of the working group formation at the Ministry of Interior, which examines the NIS privatization, also Vadim Yakovlev, First Deputy General Director of “Gazprom Neft”, announced yesterday on the conference, pointing out that all obligations to NIS were fulfilled and all necessary funds were invested in the company development – it carried out modernization, invested the necessary funds into NIS development, expanded retail network of gas stations and increased resources.

Jacob told for “Interfax” that “Gazprom Neft” was surprised by the ongoing investigation in connection with NIS sale and stressed that in the meantime NIS has become the most successful company and the largest taxpayer, which came out on the Belgrade Stock Exchange and regularly was paying dividends.

– We will follow the mentioned investigation and evaluate how it affects the working conditions in the country. The investment climate in Serbia is important for us – said Jacob.

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