In a statement released this morning, Samherji announced that CEO Þorsteinn Már Baldvinsson will be stepping aside indefinitely pending an internal investigation into the company’s subsidiaries’ “alleged wrongdoing in Namibia.”
As reported this week, subsidiaries of Samherji – one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies – are alleged to have paid high-ranking officials in Namibia more than ISK one billion since 2012 to ensure access to horse-mackerel fishing quotas in the country. Following the allegations, Samherji announced that it would solicit the aid of the Norwegian-based law firm Wikborg Rein to investigate the alleged wrongdoing.
According to Samherji’s statement from this morning, Björgólfur Jóhannsson – former CEO of Icelandair Group – will take Þorsteinn’s place as acting CEO and will meet with employees and key stakeholders in the coming days.
“Samherji employs thousands of people globally. We take this serious step to ensure and demonstrate the complete integrity of the ongoing investigation. At Samherji we are committed to fair and honest business, and we will always strive to act in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, says Eirikur S. Jóhannsson, Chair of the Board of Directors of Samherji,” the statement reads.
The Namibian Minister of Fisheries, Bernhardt Esau, and Minister of Justice, Sacky Shangala, resigned yesterday.