Namibian authorities have officially closed their investigation into the so-called Fishrot Files, leaked documents suggesting Icelandic fishing company Samherji bribed Namibian officials in exchange for lucrative fishing quotas in the country’s waters. Documents presented in the case also shed new light on the company’s business with Norwegian bank DNB. RÚV reported first.
The case, known in Namibia as the Fishcor corruption case, has just been transferred to Namibia’s High Court, where the six men currently charged and additional accused must make a first pretrial appearance on April 22. More arrests are expected to be made in the case.
The six men charged in the case have been in prison in Namibia for more than a year since an investigation into the leaked documents went public. They will remain in prison unless they receive permission to be released on bail. The six are former Namibian ministers Bernhard Esau and Sacky Shanghala, businessmen Ricardo Gustavo and James Hatuikulipi and cousins of the latter, Tamson Fitty Hatuikulipi and Pius Taxa Mwatelulo. The men are accused of corruption, accepting bribes, and abuse of power.
Norwegian Bank Fined in Wake of Samherji Scandal
Evidence submitted to judges in Namibia sheds new light on why Norwegian bank DNB terminated transactions with Samherji, its former client. Last week, the bank announced that it was facing a fine equivalent to ISK 5.7 billion for poor money laundering protection. The Norwegian Economic Crimes Police have investigated the bank after the Samherji documents were made public.
According to Kveikur, after the Samherji investigation became public, DNB asked the fishing company for documents to clarify their business with the bank and counter allegations of money laundering and tax evasion. The documents provided by Samherji were deemed insufficient to “clear up the issues brought up by the bank,” and DNB subsequently terminated deposit and payment services for several Samherji accounts at the bank.