Seely, who was president of OMV from 2015 to 2021, was criticized by shareholders primarily for the group’s business in Russia. Selye relied entirely on Russia as a supplier of gas and reconfirmed his predecessors’ attempts to spread imports more widely across multiple sources. The Investors Interest Group (IVA) wants to vote against dismissal of the director at the next general meeting of the Vienna Oil, Gas and Chemical Group, a shareholder representative announced on Tuesday.
“Some soul movements were in the red. Only now do you realize the scope. Transparency must be ensured here – if necessary through a private test or criminal complaint,” IVA president Florian Beckermann said this week, adding that the presumption of innocence applies. Seely did not respond publicly to the allegations.
Contract without exit clause
There are several critical points: the former head of OMV will be responsible for billions in write-offs from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project and a Russian gas field. In addition, the IVA Association wants to examine the “contracts of gas supply contracts for a period of time with Russia without an exit clause” and sponsorship of the Russian football club Zenit St Petersburg, which totals 25 million euros.
The said contracts should be retrospectively examined. In light of geopolitical changes and doubts about compliance, our main concern here is to have absolute clarity on the correct conclusion of these contracts,” Beckerman said when asked by Reuters.
Two billion write-offs in the first quarter
Write-offs in Russia fall in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. In all, OMV had to bear a fee of 2 billion euros. A billion of this resulted from the failure of “Nord Stream 2”, in which OMV participated as a financial partner. In addition, there is another billion in fees from a stake in the Russian gas field Yuzhno Roskoy.
The former head of Wintershall, Seele, headed the largest industrial group in Austria since mid-2015 – at that time the director Siegfried Wolf, who himself was in close contact with Russia, was the head of the supervisory board – until the spring of 2021. Under his leadership, OMV set a course Chemicals through the acquisition of petrochemical group Borealis and recently achieved record results. The native German was also under increasing pressure. In addition to the internal power struggle over strategy, he was alarmed by criticism from environmental organizations.
Ex-OMV coach silly under pressure
At OMV’s annual general meeting on Friday, things may get tight for OMV’s former CEO, Rainer Selye. Shareholder representatives want to refuse to be discharged. Johannes Ruprecht reports.
‘Dossier’ for researchers and reviewers
The magazine “Dossier” recently sparked criticism of the spirit burning with research. According to the magazine, there was a multi-million dollar deal with the former head of compliance, Robert Eichler, which was said to have been hidden from the board of directors and the supervisory board. Pekerman spoke of a “serious doubt” that should be “urgently clarified”. The day before the public meeting, The Dossier, which has repeatedly criticized Seeley in the past, published new allegations.
Company attorney Susan Calles, who had nothing to complain about in a legal opinion dated July 8, 2021, now told “Dossier,” “I will withdraw the opinion immediately if OMV AG asks me.” Also, labor lawyer Franz Marhold Selye is no longer providing support: “I agree with Professor Calles on the conclusions under the Companies Act and other procedures,” he told the “file”.
“I feel cheated”
Kalss was more blunt: “Later, I feel used and abused,” the WU professor told Dossier. She was confident that she would have all the information relevant to the assessment of the legal matter. “I feel cheated.” Otherwise, according to her statements, she would have come to a different conclusion in her report. “With today’s knowledge and understanding, I would say that the then CEO breached his duty of care. The limits of joint stock law there have been crossed.”
ÖBAG’s CEO, Edith Halawati, did not want to delve into the substance of the allegations against the “dossier”. “I trust the previous work of the supervisory body that initiated the examination,” Al-Halwati said, according to “Al-Malfa.” This exam is still ongoing. OMV itself did not wish to comment on this at this time.
ÖBAG President before entering the Supervisory Board
The shareholder meeting will be held virtually on Friday. Elections to the Supervisory Board are also on the agenda. Among other things, ÖBAG Chairman HLawati will move to the Monitoring Committee. ÖBAG manages the state’s 31.5 percent stake in OMV.
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