INA: Vanđelić Neither Warned Nor Sent Email about Money Losses

By 30 August 2022
INA: Vanđelić Neither Warned Nor Sent Email about Money Losses
Image: INA/Official Website

ZAGREB, 30 August, 2022 - The INA oil company on Tuesday reported that a former chairman of its supervisory board, Damir Vanđelić, never said anything at meetings of the board nor did he send any email that would have indicated that INA was losing money, as Vanđelić claimed earlier in the day.

"INA does not support any attempts to score political points in reference to the investigation launched in the gas resale case, and twisting facts to one's own advantage could have a misleading effect on the public. In the six years he spent as the head of INA's Supervisory Board Mr Vanđelić never voted against any decision that was adopted by that body that was related to the work of the Management Board or about the company's operations," INA said in a press release.

It added that Vanđelić "never said anything at the Supervisory Board meetings nor did he send any email that would indicate that INA was losing money," as he claims.

INA added that Vanđelić is "clumsily trying to corroborate his insinuations with e-mails as alleged evidence" by claiming that an e-mail he sent in July 2021 indicated that INA was losing money, unlike MOL.

"The graphs that were sent show the operations of the mentioned companies in 2020, which is more than a year before the signing of the gas contracts that are now under investigation. The graphs compare the return on assets and the return on equity of MOL and INA, which due to different business portfolios by the companies is incomparable. Furthermore, the losses he mentions in the context of suspected unauthorised gas sales refer to INA's losses from 2020, which occurred as a result of the downtime caused by the coronavirus pandemic," INA says.

Vanđelić is also twisting the facts about the dismissal and appointment of new managers at INA.

INA underscored that Vanđelić did send an email requesting an additional item on the agenda regarding managers who left the company, and they consider it important to note that some of them did so at their own request.

"As was the case usually Mr. Vanđelić supported the Management Board's decisions without any further questions or requests," INA said.

Vanđelić was first a member of the INA Supervisory Board and in 2016 he was appointed its chair for a term of five years.

Today, he stated to the N1 broadcaster that the contract that enabled the resale of INA's gas was not in the domain of the supervisory board, but of the management board, and that he saw that INA was losing money, which he reported to the supervisory and management boards, and to then Minister of Economy, Tomislav Ćorić.

Tomislav Ćorić, now a vice-governor of the Croatian National Bank (HNB), also reacted to Vanđelić's statement.

"Vanđelic is very creative in presenting alternative facts," Ćorić said.

In the operation launched on Saturday by the Uskok anti-corruption office and the police, investigators targeted the director of INA Damir Škugor, the president of the Croatian Bar Association (HOK) Josip Šurjak, his business partner Goran Husić, with whom he co-owns the OMS Upravljanje management company, Škugor's father Dane, and the director of the Plinara Istočne Slavonije gas company Marija Ratkić.

The five suspects were arrested on suspicion of defrauding INA of more than one billion kuna by buying natural gas supplies from the company at below-the-market price and then selling that gas at market prices, thus making an illegal gain of at least HRK 848 million (approx. €113 million).