Acting Samherji CEO Bjorgolfur Johannsson said he is betting on the company getting through and moving on from the cash-for-quotas scandal that is currently dogging the Icelandic fishing giant.
“Of course I want to believe that the company survives this,” he said in an interview with Icelandic radio station RAS2.
The former Icelandic CEO was recruited from Icelandair after Samherji Thorsteinn Mar Baldvinsson stepped aside while an investigation into company's alleged wrongdoings in Namibia is carried out.
“It is my role and the management’s to ensure that the company can continue its operations,” Johannsson added.
No deadline has been put on completion of the probe, he said.
Just before Baldvinsson stepped aside, Samherji distanced itself from its former managing director in Namibia, Johannes Stefansson, after he made serious bribery allegations against the company.
Last week WikiLeaks published more than over 30,000 documents (the first of two batches) it said it obtained from a whistleblower within Samherji.
Stefansson, now a whistleblower working with Nambian anti-corruption authorities, implemented bribe payments on the authorization of Mar Baldvinsson, Samherji's CEO and largest shareholder, according to allegations reported by the website of Icelandic bi-weekly newspaper Stundin.
The cash-for-quotas scandal continues to provide new twists, having led to the resignations of two Namibian cabinet ministers, as well as the managing director of South Africa-based investment firm Investec Asset Management.
Events have also swept up Norwegian state bank DNB, in what is being billed as the largest laundering scandal ever to hit a bank in Norway.
Separately, Icelandic fishing company Sildarvinnslan is rejecting claims CEO Gunnthor Ingvason sought the help of Samherji as part of an attempt to secure valuable fishing quotas from authorities in Greenland, the website of Icelandic state broadcaster RUV reports, citing Icelandic news site Frettabladid.
The scandal prompted Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir to call for swift action by regulators to dig into the allegations the company dealt out bribes in exchange for access to Namibian fish harvesting rights and that "no stone should be left unturned" in the investigation.
Shocked into action Iceland’s government has drawn up a raft of proposals aimed at preventing damage to Iceland’s global reputation in the wake of the Samherji cash-for-quotas scandal.
Measures falling into seven categories include increased transparency in operations, improvements in international fisheries policies and the prevention of conflicts of interest and bribery.
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