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Two investigations into Orlen. “A huge amount of evidence”

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The District Prosecutor's Office in Płock, conducting two investigations regarding Orlen – regarding the merger with Lotos and lowering fuel prices – seized 73 gigabytes of electronic documents and 2 terabytes of e-mail correspondence in the company's offices – said prosecutor Monika Mieczykowska.

The deputy head of the District Prosecutor's Office in Płock informed PAP on Wednesday that the appointment of specialists is being considered to analyze the evidence collected in both proceedings, and in the case of lowering fuel prices, also a team of prosecutors with the participation of secret service officers, as in the case of the merger with Lotos. The searches, which were carried out at the beginning of March this year with the participation of the Internal Security Agency, covered Orlen's offices in Płock, where the company's headquarters and its main production plant are located, as well as in Warsaw. However, in the case of the merger proceedings with Grupa Lotos, searches were also carried out in offices in Gdańsk, where the refinery operates, in which Orlen currently holds 70 percent. shares.

“A huge amount of evidence”

As prosecutor Monika Mieczykowska told PAP on Wednesday, a total of 73 gigabytes of electronic documents and 2 terabytes of e-mail correspondence were secured as part of the searches. – In the case of electronic documents, it is 33 thousand. 279 files in 8 thousand 373 folders. This is a truly enormous amount of evidence, which in its entirety requires a very detailed analysis, every document, every e-mail and every attachment – emphasized the deputy district prosecutor in Płock. She also noted that due to the scope of the collected documentation, including in paper form, and correspondence, it is currently being considered to “assume” specialists from various fields who would help in the substantive verification of the evidence. She pointed out that it would be necessary to reappoint expert English translators. Prosecutor Mieczykowska also admitted that it is planned to appoint a team of prosecutors and secret service officers in the investigation into the lowering of fuel prices, as was the case earlier in the proceedings regarding the merger with Lotos. – In the case of the already working team, I am considering expanding it to include additional prosecutors – she added. In both of these issues – as the deputy head of the Płock District Prosecutor's Office reminded us – approval of appropriate applications is required by the superior Regional Prosecutor's Office in Łódź.

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Orlen RefineryOrlen

Two investigations. Price lowering by Orlen and merger with Lotos

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 Lotos was issued by the Płock 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 – ed.), as well as other persons dealing with the property matters of this company, in connection with conducting negotiations, setting conditions and signing contracts. 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 an 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 in connection with inadequate supervision of the merger process of PKN Orlen with Lotos, including by the 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.

Investigations following notifications

Both proceedings, both regarding the suspicion of lowering fuel prices by Orlen and the merger of Orlen with Lotos, were initiated by the Płock district prosecutor's office after the notifications submitted there, and in the case of the merger they were filed, among others, by KO politicians. Each time, before initiating investigations, 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.

Main photo source: Konektus Photo/Shutterstock

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