WikiLeaks Releases 30,000 Documents on Icelandic Company in Namibia

Vala Hafstað

WikiLeaks has published more than 30,000 documents from whistleblower Jóhannes Stefánsson, former managing director of operations in Namibia for Samherji, one of the leading companies in the Icelandic fish industry, mbl.is reports. The documents, called Fishrot Files, date back to 2010 to 2016 and regard Samherji’s operation in the African country.

The documents expose corrupt business practices by the company in Namibia, aimed to obtain access to fishing grounds off the country’s shores. 

WikiLeak’s website shows that the data leakage includes thousands of documents – e-mails, internal reports, spreadsheets, presentations and photos – related to Samherji. This is the first of two batches of documents, containing information about the company. The second batch of documents will be released in two to three weeks.

According to the WikiLeak’s website, the documents “expose how the company spent millions of dollars in pay-offs to senior Namibian officials and politicians in order to ensure growing and continued access to the country's resources.

It also exposes that lofty promises by SAMHERJI, to build infrastructure in the country and create jobs, were never fulfilled. On the contrary, the company used its international corporate structure to transfer proceeds from the operations straight out of the country. This was done through intermediaries it controls in Cyprus and in the tax-haven of Mauritius.”

Samherji has operations in numerous countries abroad.

According to Wikileaks, Jóhannes has not only shared information with Wikileaks, but is also cooperating with anti-corruption authorities and police in Namibia, Dubai, Mauritius, Cyprus, Norway and Iceland. Norway is included in the investigation, due to some of the Cyprus-based companies belonging to Samherji having used Norwegian bank accounts to transfer funds.

WikiLeaks releases the information in cooperation with Kveikur, the the investigative unit of the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV), the Icelandic newspaper Stundin, and the Namibian daily The Namibian. Kveikur broadcast a long segment on the case last night, and Stundin focuses on the subject in today’s edition of the paper.

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