How much did Orlen's management spend on private plane flights? Budka: The data is shocking

Luc Williams

The head of MAP, speaking about inspections in Orlen on Polsat News, said that the information received from the company was “devastating”. He recalled, among others: information from last week that “when Orlen had to make write-offs of over PLN 1.6 billion for failed investments.”

On Wednesday, Orlen announced that due to the loss by Orlen Trading Switzerland of PLN 1.6 billion of prepayments for undelivered crude oil and the low probability of recovering the money, it would make an appropriate write-off in its financial results for 2023. Then on Friday, the company announced that due to the “low probability” recovery by OTS of the funds it paid as prepayments for the purchase of crude oil and petroleum products, Orlen estimated that its cash pool receivables from the Subsidiary (OTS) amounted to PLN 1.3 billion. It was explained that the difference in the amount of PLN 0.3 billion between the write-off recognized in the consolidated statements of the Orlen Group in the amount of PLN 1.6 billion and the write-off recognized in the separate statements of Orlen in the amount of PLN 1.3 billion results from the fact that OTS has current assets net “including cash, inventories and current receivables from which the Subsidiary Company (OTS) is able to cover other cash pool liabilities towards ORLEN SA”.

“It was Obajtek (Daniel Obajtek – former president of Orlen) and his people who created a company in Switzerland despite the warnings of the Polish services. They employed a man there who has a very bad past, about whom even the American services warned. It is exceptional hypocrisy of Obajtek that he is trying today distance himself from this decision. I hope that he will also answer to the court for what happened (…) in Orlen,” added Borys Budka.

The minister informed that some documents show that “Mr. Obajtek and his colleagues from the management board were not able to fly on scheduled planes, but had to rent private jets.” “Only in 2022, the Orlen management board spent over EUR 0.5 million on private flights,” said the minister.

According to Budka, this shows “the scale of absolute debauchery, treating Poland like a private farm.”

When asked whether prosecutors could bring charges against Daniel Obajtek in connection with these flights, the head of MAP pointed out that it was a matter of civil liability.

The politician added that in November last year after the elections, “a group of people from Orlen flew to the USA to watch Formula 1. They paid almost PLN 400,000 for it. The best hotels, the most expensive restaurants. This shows that they treated the Polish champion, a listed company, like a private farm.”

Last week, former member of Orlen's management board, Michał Róg, estimated that the cause of problems with oil contracts for Orlen Trading Switzerland was the change of the company's management board in February 2024. In his opinion, Orlen was aware of the financial and business risk associated with it, and the new OTS management could expose the company to losses.

Orlen's press office informed PAP Biznes on Thursday that Orlen Trading Switzerland, a subsidiary of the Orlen group, paid approximately PLN 1.6 billion in advances without the use of collateral, which went to entities with which Orlen had never cooperated before.

According to the information provided, since May 2023, Orlen Trading Switzerland, a subsidiary of the Orlen Group, has paid approximately PLN 1.6 billion in advances to crude oil trading intermediaries. Most deliveries were to be completed by the end of 2023, and the remaining deliveries by the end of January 2024.

“These companies have not fulfilled their obligations nor, when asked to return advance payments, have they failed to settle accounts with Orlen Trading Switzerland. Since the beginning of March 2024, the new authorities of Orlen Trading Switzerland have been trying to enforce the contract provisions or recover advance payments. This turned out to be impossible due to the repeal of intermediaries from these obligations,” Orlen's press office wrote in response to questions from PAP Biznes.

Agnieszka Adamska-Okońska, spokeswoman for the District Prosecutor's Office in Bydgoszcz, announced last week that the prosecutor's office had brought charges against a man with the initials SA, who in 2008-2013 operated in a criminal group dealing in fictitious trade in invoices and tax fraud. According to the findings of Radio Zet, AS is the former president of Orlen Trading Switzerlnd, who was wanted on an arrest warrant. He was detained at the end of February when he came to Poland at the invitation of the headquarters.

At the beginning of March, Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced at a press conference that the activities of the OTS company from the Orlen Group may expose Poland to serious problems.

Orlen Trading Switzerland (OTS) is a trading company belonging to the Orlen group, founded in August 2022. As stated on its website, it trades in petroleum products, supplying products both from the group's five refineries and from global suppliers. (PAP)


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