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Yara’s Ex-CEO, Upstream Head Indicted on Corruption Charges

Four members of Yara International ASA’s former management team, including its ex-chief executive officer, were indicted for gross corruption in Libya and India, Norway’s economic and environmental crimes authority said.

The fertilizer maker’s former CEO Thorleif Enger was charged alongside ex-upstream head Tor Holba, former Chief Operating Officer Daniel Clauw and ex-Chief Legal Officer Kendrick Wallace, Norway’s Oekokrim said in a statement today. The criminal acts concern bribery of a minister in Libya and a high-ranking public official in India, the authority said.

Yara accepted a fine and confiscation of 295 million kroner ($48 million) in relation to the case, it said on Jan. 15. The company, based in Oslo, was investigated by Oekokrim after discovering that illegal payments had been made by companies associated with it. Yara’s own investigation found evidence of “unacceptable” payments, it said in June.

Enger, Clauw and Wallace were indicted for corruption in India, while those three, along with Holba, were indicted for bribes in Libya, Senior Public Prosecutor Marianne Djupesland said in the statement.

Holba, the only one of the four still employed by Yara, has been placed on paid leave until the outcome of a trial is known, the company said in a separate statement.

Underlines Gravity

“Yara underlines that all persons involved in the case are considered innocent until proven by a court to be otherwise,” the company said, adding that charges against former CFO and current head of mining Hallgeir Storvik were dropped.

“This has been a very serious case, and the indictments underline its gravity,” CEO Joergen Ole Haslestad said in the statement. “At the same time, I am satisfied that Hallgeir Storvik is no longer under suspicion,”

Holba and Enger didn’t immediately return messages left on their mobile phones when Bloomberg News called seeking comment. A call to Wallace’s home in the U.S. wasn’t answered, while contact details for Clauw weren’t immediately available.

Yara, the world’s largest publicly traded nitrogen-fertilizer maker, closed 0.5 percent higher at 265.9 kroner in Oslo, curbing its loss during the last 12 months to 8.7 percent.

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