For the past decade Samherji has paid ISK hundreds of millions to high ranking politicians and officials in Namibia with the objective of acquiring the country’s coveted fishing quota.
Samherji has made significant profits from its activities in Namibia and exploited a notorious tax haven in order to move its profit away from the country.
The data leak to Wikileaks includes thousands of documents and email communication by Samherji’s employees. One of them, Johannes Stefansson, also decided to step forward and tell all. Johannes was project manager for Samherji in Namibia until 2016.
“This is criminal activity. It’s organized crime. They are benefiting from the country’s resources, taking all the money out of the country to invest it elsewhere, in Europe or the U.S,” he says, admitting to having violated the laws himself. “I violated the law on behalf of Samherji while I was there. I was the man to gtet the quotas and the connections, on my superiors’ orders.”
For almost a decade, Samherji’s Namibian activities have involved three factory fishing trawlers fishing for horse mackerel off the coast.
The trawlers have been leased from subsidiaries in Cyprus to two of Samherji’s fishing companies in Namibia, Katla, later renamed Mermaria, and Arcticnam, co-owned by Samherji and groups of Namibian quota holders.
Samherji has managed to obtain this coveted quota, thus guaranteeing income worth tens of billions ISK.
Katla, also known as Mermaria, has been the foremost fishing company and enjoys unusual special terms from the state fishing company, Fishcor, and utilized Namibia and Angola’s international agreement.
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