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Dominican Today: Amid scandal, time’s up to sell Shell’s 50% stake in Dominican refinery

18 June 2007
 
SANTO DOMINGO.- The deadline to file tender offers to purchase the Shell company’s shares in the Dominican Petroleum Refinery (Refidomsa) –the Caribbean nation’s only facility of that type- expires today Monday and it was reported that 3 of the 5 offers had been retired.

A source quoted by the newspaper El Nacional said they didn’t know the reasons why 3 parties retired and refused to identify them and those companies which are still interested in the acquisition. The first offer was to the Dominican State – Shell’s equal partner in Refidomsa- which declined and said it didn’t object the sale.

The sale of Shell’s stake in the refinery was confirmed at the end of last month and prior to news of the scandal into alleged invoice alterations which had been influencing the parity price on imported fuels, used as the benchmark for domestic pump prices.

On May 24 Shell’s sale of its Refidomsa shares was confirmed after the company’s senior executives and Government officials met in the Hacienda Ministry, in which Refidomsa president Rubén Montás participated, among others.

Meanwhile the Corruption Prevention Department has opened an investigation into the Refidomsa scandal, after allegations the fuel import invoices had been altered. Shell said it’s a victim of a defamation campaign and publicly requested the probe.

The ex- Industry and Commerce minister Angel Lockward said yesterday the sale of Shell’s stake in Refidomsa would generate RD$7 billion in capital gains. He said although Shell’s capital in the refinery is only US$17 million, it has received tenders of over US$200 million for its 50 percent stake.

Related article: Shell bilked the country out of US$ millions, Dominican Government says 

15 June 2007
 
SANTO DOMINGO.- The Dominican Justice Ministry today Friday said the company Shell has been defrauding the country out of tens of millions of dollars for a long time, and will begin interrogations next week to establish responsibilities.

Corruption Prevention Department (Depreco) director Octavio Líster said he suspects the fraud could be a reiterated practice on the part of Shell, which will require a thorough investigation. “Above all remember that we are talking about an equal partner with the Dominican State as far as shares and that it’s a foreign multinational company.”

Meanwhile Chamber of Deputies president Julio Cesar Valentin said if proven, the fraud should be denounced abroad, and that the Government has the right to denounce it at the international level.

He said Dominican legislation has the mechanisms to penalize that type of fraud. “Consequently, the Dominican State must be sufficiently diligence and seek the legal actions which are pertinent to sanction the people responsible in this.”

This morning Shell said today it agrees with the investigation in the Dominican Petroleum Refinery to clarify the denunciation of altered invoices and proposed the inclusion of all aspects under question, “for the sake of transparency that should prevail in all mixed capital partnerships between a private company and the State.”
 

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