By: Luka Perš / Nova24tv
A careful inspection of the Istrabenz Gorenje group, which was conducted by a well-known auditing company in 2010, revealed numerous irregularities about the director Robert Golob. Among other things, the company spent 800 thousand euros on documentation for the construction of the power plant on Neretva, which was never actually built; there was also talk of front companies in the Balkans, established for money laundering, and Golob also forced a profit distribution of 24.44 percent, even though he only had a 10-percent share in the company.
Slovenian online media outlet Siol recently reported that Robert Golob, as the President of the Management Board and minority owner of the company Istrabenz Gorenje, had secured a larger share in profits in advance by providing articles of association, with which he could subsequently recapitalise the company and acquire a share of ten percent, which is evident from the part of the documents on the due diligence of the Istrabenz Gorenje company, which which was supposedly carried out in 2010 by one of the well-known Slovenian audit companies. The documents also show that Golob allegedly also conducted business with his wife, Jana Nemec Golob, the owner of a private kindergarten.
The audit shows that the Istrabenz Gorenje company, which is now owned by the company Petrol, also had equipment for the Hiša otrok kindergarten (Children’s House) among its fixed assets, and a process of excluding the kindergarten was also going on at the time, and the equipment was to be eliminated in the form of a donation. Data from the court register show that the private kindergarten was established in October 2010 and is privately owned by Golob’s wife, Jana Nemec Golob. The Istrabenz Gorenje company transferred the day-care activity to Nemec Golob’s private kindergarten, which, up until that point, the company had been ensuring by itself, Siol also wrote.
The Bosnian Intrade company destroyed Istrabenz
It is clear from the 11-page document that the Bosnian company Intrade, led by Nihad Spahalić, was the cause of the destruction of many companies that later formed the ownership structure of the state-owned energy company GEN-I, where Golob is now employed. It is important to note that at the time, the Istrabenz Gorenje company had an 88.5 percent balance sheet exposure in the entire company. So in what way did the umbrella Slovenian company, under the leadership of Golob, take care of the uninterrupted financing of the strange Spahalič company with a majority Slovenian share?
The document states that the total exposure to the subsidiary company Intrade Energija, according to Petrol appraiser, on the 31st of December 2009, was 12,781,436 euros, which represented a total of 88.5 percent of the balance sheet total of the Istrabenz Gorenje company. In the presentation of the loan agreement, it is written that on the 1st of October 2007, they signed a long-term loan agreement between Istrabenz Investicijski inženiring d.o.o. company (Istrabenz investment engineering) and Intrade Energija d.o.o. company from Sarajevo. What follows from the contract, established on the 30th of June 2004, is that Istrabenz Gorenje granted Intrade a long-term loan of 7 million euros for the construction of four hydroelectric power plants – Jezernica, Mujakovići, Botun, and Majan, on the river Neretva.
With the agreement concluded on the 1st of June 2004, they also took out a long-term loan in the amount of 2.8 million euros for the same investment. According to the contract from the 1st of October 2007, the Istrabenz Gorenje company sold the receivables from the above two contracts to the Istrabenz Investment Engineering Company in the amount of 9.8 million euros (principal) and 1,605,251 euros (interest), for a total of 11,405,251 euros. The agreement between Istrabenz investicijski inženiring and Intrade – Energija set out the terms of the long-term loan and states that the loan will be repaid in 22 instalments, which should fall due on the 1st of October 2008. From this, it follows that Intrade Energija’s debt under the loan agreement amounted to 9.8 million euros in principal and 2,842,981 euros in interest rates, which amounts to a total of 12,642,981 euros. With an annex to the contract, the two companies agreed to convert this interest into long-term debt, and in the addition, they also wrote that the debt has to be repaid in 26 instalments.
What is also contentious is the fact that documentation of the Istrabenz Gorenje company for the Neretva project was sold to Istrabenz investicijski inženiring, for the amount of 809,806.67 euros. Both the Intrade and the Istrabenz investicijski inženiring companies agreed that Intrade should keep all of the documentation and that the document would be prepared by the company Energoinvest. We found information online that there is a company called Energoinvest in Sarajevo. The audit company further wrote in its report that it did not receive any information on whether the project is still ongoing. However, as the Avaz video revealed, the whole project ended in 2009. The key record states that due to the age of the documentation, it is now old, which means that its usefulness and thus knowledge may be questionable and that there is a possibility that it should be subject to asset impairment
With a minority stake, Robert Golob had greater decision-making power than Istrabenz or Gorenje
The report also highlights the role of Robert Golob, where it is actually noted that he had majority control over Istrabenz and Gorenje with a 10 percent share. In the opinion, the financial experts wrote that the President of IGES, Dr Robert Golob, provided special options for himself that also brought him greater participation in profits and voting. It should be noted that this is a valid agreement, which is not in conflict with the Companies Act.
However, the question arises of why the majority owners (Gorenje and Istrabenz) agreed to such conditions. As a minority owner, Golob provided a guarantee for a share in the distribution of profits, where he only subsequently acquired a 10 percent share in the company through a recapitalisation with the distributed profit. According to the document, Golob negotiated the possibility that he also had control over his umbrella companies – both Istrabenz and Gorenje – with a 10 percent share. The story of IGES is very similar to the current story of GEN-I.
However, the whole thing is also very strange and suspicious. Law enforcement and regulators should have reacted immediately to such actions. But as everyone was under the control of the economic autocrats from the Coast and operatives from the business circle of Borut Jamnik, the matter remained unsolved. Those who know about the situation in Istrabenz told us that Robert Golob knew exactly what he was doing. The 11-page document clearly describes that in the case of the Intrade company, this was a so-called daylight robbery. From the initial idea of entering the Bosnian market, the thing slowly morphed into a wild theft. And from the statute itself (under the General Meeting), it is clear and visible that Robert Golob, with his 10 percent (of which he was not the owner at all), controlled all operations in the Istrabenz-Gorenje company. It was pointed out to us that the adoption of all statutory changes and the articles of association concerning Golob required a 91 percent majority, while Istrabenz’s subsidiary and Gorenje only had 90 percent ownership combined.
Given this 10 percent, Robert Golob was also entitled to an equally large share of profits, but a careful examination found that he received as much as 24.44 percent of the profit, in the amount of 206,462.99 euros, out of a total profit of 1,220,000 euros. Unjustified rewards have, therefore, always been part of Golob’s life, and not just in Gen-I.