Days after the validity of Lekoil Ltd‘s supposed $184 million loan from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) became questionable, the company that brokered the deal said it is open to investigation.
Seawave Invest Ltd, which is based in the Bahamas, allegedly arranged the fraudulent loan deal that was later denied by Qatar Investment Authority. Apparently, individuals pretending to be representatives of QIA were the ones who facilitated the deal. Lekoil was planning to use the money to facilitate the development of its Ogo oilfield.
As Niarametrics reported, Lekoil Ltd’s shares on the London Stock Exchange was suspended after it was discovered that the so-called loan deal was nothing but a “complex façade”. The company’s share also dropped by 70% following the scandal and subsequent suspension.
In the meantime, Seawave Invest Ltd is open to investigation by Lekoil Ltd. The independent consultancy firm told Reuters that it was willing to assist in the investigation but would not make any further comments regarding the issue.
“Seawave Invest Ltd welcomes Lekoil’s investigation and will remain available to the best of its abilities to assist.
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“Seawave Invest Ltd will not make any comments at this stage whilst waiting for the results of its own assessment and investigation of this matter.”
Further findings by Reuters also disclosed that Seawave Invest Ltd might be non-existent, after all. A contact at the Bahamas-based law firm, Holowesko Pyfrom Fletcher, said Seawave Invest Ltd had always been “inactive” as a company. The contact further disclosed that the company was recently struck off by the Registrar of Companies.
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Information about Seawave’s owners and management team is rather scarce. However, Financial Times reported that a managing partner at the firm, who is known by the name Bismarck Abrafi, said he was going to issue a detailed response regarding the loan scandal. According to him, “You will receive our response to the allegations. We will issue [a] full statement and everything will be clear.”
For now, Lekoil Ltd is continuing to grapple with the outcome of this unfortunate incident which some people have described as a corporate governance let-down.
Who would simply admit that this… was a corporate governance let down and address the issues Arising from the pitch around the QIB financing…..???
— Olufemi AWOYEMI (@OlufemiAwoyemi) January 15, 2020
Prominent businessman, Atedo Peterside, who once served as director at Lekoil Ltd, is also one of those who have reacted to the development. In a series of Twitter posts, he expressed support to the oil company and said he believed it would bounce back from the scandal very soon.
Clever fraudsters have invaded the business space too & it is not only cybercrime. Individuals & Corporates need to be constantly alert & on their toes; the fraudsters are getting smarter. Lekoil has become the latest victim. Lekoil must chin up & bounce back
— Atedo Peterside (@AtedoPeterside) January 15, 2020