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Seafood Company under Investigation

Kastljós, a local news magazine produced by RÚV, the Icelandic Broadcasting Corporation, aired the story last night.

Yesterday, a search warrant permitted the Special Prosecutor, the Foreign Exchange Control and the Directorate of Customs to conduct an on-site search at the company headquarters in Akureyri and office facilities in Reykjavík.

akureyri-view_go
Akureyri. Photo by GO.

The company is suspected of violating the foreign exchange transactions regulations in the company’s business affairs, and released a statement following the search:

“Samherji Seafood Company has obeyed the laws in all its affairs, whether in foreign exchange transactions or other matters. The search operations conducted by the Central Bank’s Foreign Exchange Control served no purpose and must be based on wrong information or other reasons unknown to us,” Þorsteinn Már Baldvinsson, the CEO of Samherji Seafood Company, told Rúv.is.

The company is waiting for an explanation from the Central Bank.

Samherji Seafood Company claims to have done its best to fulfill the Central Bank’s demands. Employees of the Central Bank have been introduced to the company’s work procedures. Last year, staff from the Central Bank visited the Akureyri headquarters and were given access to all documents they requested to see.

The company received no remarks following the visit.

Samherji Seafood Company is an international sales company with headquarters in Akureyri, operating in a system in resource management where the aim is sustainable fishing. The company sells both its own products and products from various foreign companies.

The company’s operative field is multilayered and has become complicated with the currency restrictions. It appears the Central Bank has had some difficulty in resolving this aspect of the company’s operations and it may explain the sudden measurements taken.

A spokesperson for the Central Bank informed the media yesterday, the measurements taken against Samherji Seafood Company are based on a “tip from a member of staff of Kastljós,” Rúv.is.

The company cannot explain the misrepresented facts when the facts are unknown to them.

The company is however aware of the fact that the source of the information comes from Kastljós. The news magazine has been working on the reportage on the company’s redfish export to Germany.

The situation according to Kastljós is as follows:

Samherji Seafood Company sells a large portion of its product through sales companies Ice Fresh and Seagold. The pricing in the business transactions is as it should be and no currency is retained.

The suspicious nature of the redfish business transaction as portrayed by Kastljós and the Central Bank is approximately 0.1 percent of the company’s total profit. The business transactions and all other businesses Samherji Seafood Company conducted with its subsidiaries are perfectly legal and in the same channel as they were prior to the currency restrictions, as is known to the Central Bank.

The regulations have been obeyed.

“The harsh and not so objective operations on behalf of the Central Bank must be unprecedented, and we declare that responsibility is with the Central Bank. I challenge the Central Bank to justify the search warrant so that we can provide the Central Bank with the necessary information concerning the aspects requiring further detailing, and attempt to minimize the damage to our company following the severe measures taken,” Þorsteinn Már Baldursson, the CEO of Samherji Seafood Company told the press in his statement.

JB

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