Polish company blocks dividend payment to Russian Gazprom

2016/09/26

Unian

Polish oil and gas Company PGNIG has blocked the payment of about $200 million in dividends in favor of Russia’s Gazprom from the jointly owned EuRoPol Gaz, which would make it impossible for the Russian company to finance the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Europeiska Pravda online newspaper reported referring to Gazeta Polska Codziennie.

“PGNIG has received consent of the Polish government to carry out such actions,” the newspaper wrote.

It is reported that the entire process started at the general shareholders meeting of EuRoPol Gaz on June 27, 2016. At that time, the management of the company (48% of its shares owned by PGNIG, 48% by Gazprom, 4% by Gaz-Trading, which is under control of PGNIG) received premiums worth only about PLN 2 million.

The management structure of the company is comprised of six Russian citizens (Gazprom representatives) and seven Polish nationals. The payment of premiums was a condition of the Russian co-owners to agree the transfer of about PLN 540 million from foreign banks in a long-term account in PKO Bank Polski. The foreign transfers were made in July and August.
The funds de facto belong to the Russian Gazprom, however, they cannot be withdrawn for a set period of time. Until the funds were credited into the account the management of PGNiG had postponed the implementation of one of the provisions of the general meeting dated June 27 concerning the payment of dividends. The meeting was suspended by PGNiG in order to finally announce in early September a decision on non-payment of the dividends that must have been channelled into the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to the report. Earlier, it was reported that Poland had blocked the establishment of a joint enterprise, which would be in charge of construction and exploitation of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

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