Searches in Orlen. “All documents we wanted have been secured”

Luc Williams

“We have double secured the evidence for two cases, including as part of a separate investigation into suspected undercutting of fuel prices by Orlen. Search activities, including the investigation into the merger of Orlen with Grupa Lotos, have already been completed,” the deputy prosecutor told PAP on Friday district in Płock Monika Mieczykowska.

As she explained, the searches covered Orlen's offices, including those in Płock, where the company's headquarters are located, as well as in Warsaw, but in the case of the merger proceedings with Grupa Lotos, they were also carried out in offices in Gdańsk, where the refinery operates, in which Orlen currently has 70 percent. shares.

“All documents we wanted have been secured. The collected evidence is currently being analyzed,” added prosecutor Mieczykowska. She emphasized that further evidence was and would be collected on an ongoing basis.

Internal Security Agency officers started searches in Orlen's offices in Płock and Warsaw, as well as in Gdańsk, on Wednesday as part of activities to secure evidence. The District Prosecutor's Office in Płock, which ordered the searches, is conducting two parallel investigations regarding Orlen. Both were initiated following notices.

An investigation into the suspicion of Orlen lowering fuel prices was initiated on January 17 this year. It covers the period from August 1 to October 31, 2023. The proceedings are intended to determine whether the abuse of powers or failure to fulfill obligations by persons managing Orlen could have led to an unjustified reduction in the prices of liquid fuels relative to market prices, and therefore led to a direct risk of damage. large-scale assets in the Orlen company in an amount yet to be determined.

The decision to initiate an investigation into the merger of Orlen with Grupa Lotos in Płock was issued by the District Prosecutor's Office on January 22 this year. The proceedings concern suspected abuse of powers and failure to fulfill duties by members of the management board of PKN Orlen (after changing its name in July 2023, Orlen – PAP), as well as other persons dealing with the property matters of this company, in connection with conducting negotiations, setting conditions and signing contracts in regarding the merger of PKN Orlen with Grupa Lotos in Gdańsk, and then signing agreements related to the sale of 30 percent. shares in the Gdańsk Refinery to Saudi Aramco, which caused significant damage to PKN Orlen in the amount of no less than PLN 4 billion. In this respect, the proceedings cover the period from the beginning of 2018 to November 30, 2022.

The same investigation is also intended to clarify whether there was any abuse of powers and failure to fulfill official duties in the period from the beginning of 2020 to November 30, 2022 by public officials in connection with inadequate supervision of the merger process of PKN Orlen and Grupa Lotos, including by President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection – through improper application of the provisions of the Act on the control of certain investments and permission to sell 30 percent. shares in the Gdańsk Refinery to Saudi Aramco without seeking the recommendation or opinion of the Consultative Committee at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, which was to the detriment of the public interest.

Both proceedings, both regarding the suspicion of lowering fuel prices by Orlen and regarding the merger of Orlen with Grupa Lotos, were initiated by the Płock District Prosecutor's Office after notifications submitted there, and in the case of the merger they were filed, among others, by KO politicians. Each time, in the case of both investigations, prior to their initiation, verification activities were carried out, the subject of which were the circumstances provided by the notifiers.

At the end of February this year, as part of the ongoing investigation into the merger of Orlen with Grupa Lotos, a team of four prosecutors and several secret service officers was established at the Płock District Prosecutor's Office. The superior Regional Prosecutor's Office in Łódź had previously consented to the creation of such a special team.

Author: Michał Budkiewicz


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