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Audit shows INA crude purchases “in line with the law”

Croatia-based INA yesterday informed media that an independent auditor had established the company’s acquisition of crude oil in 2012 and ‘13 was fully “in line with the law.” The auditor’s report was presented to INA’s supervisory board at a meeting on Wednesday and showed INA’s purchases of crude were well documented and its legal liabilities clearly defined, according to company officials.

The company explained that crude prices were favorable in 2013, adding that INA purchased oil almost exclusively from Mediterranean markets in 2012 and 2013. INA said that it had bought just 25,000 tons of crude from Hungary-based peer MOL during the period. According to INA statistics, purchases from MOL accounted for just 1% of total crude purchases in 2012.

Croatia’s Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK) has asked the board of INA for documents from 2009-2013 on suspicion that MOL had overcharged for oil, Croatian media reported a week earlier. USKOK reportedly made the request based on information provided by an INA employee.  

INA management declined to comment on the reports, but various Croatia-based newspapers cited unofficial sources as saying that auditors had reviewed INA’s oil purchases a number of times and found everything in order. MOL holds a little less than 50% of INA’s shares. The state of Croatia owns about 45%. A perceived lack of investment in the company by MOL and the state’s failure to take over INA’s loss-making gas business, as stipulated in a shareholders agreement, have been sources of tension between the two stakeholders. MOL said earlier its board mandated preparations for the possible sale of the INA stake.