This is a sensible move on Daniel Obajtek’s part. He will certainly need it – said former Minister of Economy and former president of PGNiG Piotr Woźniak in the “One on One” program on TVN24, referring to reports that the president of Orlen would run in the European Parliament elections.
On Thursday, the Supervisory Board of Orlen decided to dismiss Daniel Obajtek from the management board as of February 5, 2024. Several minutes after publishing the announcement Daniel Obajtek appeared at a press conference and gave a speech in which he listed his successes and defended himself against the accusations of journalists and experts.
According to Radio Zet’s findings, Daniel Obajtek, president of Orlen, may run in the European Parliament elections. According to the media, such a plan was created at the highest levels of Law and Justice. Obajtek would fight for the seat in Podkarpacie.
Woźniak: Obajtek would get immunity
– The status of an MEP means that the MP is covered by immunity – Piotr Woźniak noted on TVN24.
– As I know the statutes of Orlen and other State Treasury companies (…), I know that a very large part of the responsibility for all decisions made in the company is focused on the president of the management board, regardless of how many opinions he relies on. It is he and his management who make the decision, said the former Minister of Economy.
He emphasized that “a lot of risk has been accumulated” related to numerous mergers. – Please note that from the moment of the elections, i.e. from October 15, until today, Orlen has calmly implemented what it was supposed to do and has done nothing to mitigate these risks – said Piotr Woźniak.
Piotr Woźniak said that the summary of Daniel Obajtek’s presidency “is quite poor.” – Yesterday, when Orlen’s departure was announced, the price of Orlen’s shares jumped. I don’t remember such rallies in company share prices. You have to read it this way: when Obajtek was the president of Orlen, he was worth a lot, when he left, he was worth more – he commented.
A controversial presidency
Daniel Obajtek took over as the president of Orlen in February 2018. While he was managing a Polish oil company, there was a lot of controversy around him. They concerned, among others, the assets of the president of Orlen.
The merger of Orlen with Lotos also raised doubts, as a result of which the company had to sell, among others, shares in the Gdańsk Refinery. For the transaction, Orlen chose the oil giant, Saudi Aramco from Saudi Arabia.
In July 2023 Supreme Chamber of Control prepared a report regarding, among others, merger of Orlen with Lotos after inspection by the Ministry of State Assets. Journalists “Black and white” Łukasz Frątczak and Dariusz Kubik found the document. According to the Supreme Audit Office, Saudi Aramco paid PLN 7.2 billion less for the Lotos part than it was worth.
The District Prosecutor’s Office in Płock (Masovian Voivodeship) has initiated an investigation into the merger of Orlen with Grupa Lotos. This includes: on suspicion of abuse of powers and failure to fulfill duties by members of Orlen’s management board and other persons, causing damage of not less than PLN 4 billion.
The spokeswoman of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Płock, Iwona Śmigielska-Kowalska, announced on Tuesday that the investigation into the merger of Orlen (then PKN Orlen) with Grupa Lotos in 2022 was initiated after notifications were submitted.
– An investigation was initiated into the abuse of powers and failure to fulfill duties by members of the management board of PKN Orlen, as well as other persons dealing with the property matters of this company, in connection with conducting negotiations, setting conditions and signing agreements regarding the merger of PKN Orlen with Grupa Lotos in Gdańsk, and then signing agreements related to the sale of shares to Saudi Aramco, which caused significant damage to PKN Orlen in the amount of no less than PLN 4 billion – explained prosecutor Śmigielska-Kowalska.
– We are not afraid of these issues because the entire process was carried out properly. 23 Polish and international institutions worked on this process and there are valuations. Part of the refinery (Gdańsk Refinery – ed.), I emphasize, was sold for the market price, we have analyzes in this regard – Obajtek explained on Tuesday.
– If you want to comment on this topic at all, you need to know all the documents, you need to see these contracts, you need to analyze these contracts thoroughly in order to speak in this way – Obajtek noted. – The prosecutor’s office is there to investigate, we have nothing to hide – he added then.
Main photo source: PAP/Radek Pietruszka