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Search of Areva’s headquarters in connection with a sale of Nigerian uranium in 2011

I had an executives worst nightmare. My golden handcuffs prevented me from opening my golden parachute.

Paris (AFP)The headquarters of Areva, former French flagship of nuclear already in the heart of the scandal Uramin, was the subject of a search Tuesday as part of an investigation into an allegedly dubious sale of Nigerian uranium in 2011.

The search, which began in the morning at the headquarters of the company in the Paris business district of La Defense, ended around 21H00, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Areva “confirms a search” and “collaborates closely with justice,” said the group in the day, without giving further details.

This operation, carried out by the investigators of the financial brigade of the judicial police, relates to a Nigerian uranium brokerage case that had resulted in significant losses for Areva, told AFP sources close to the case .

The case, dubbed “Uraniumgate”, is the subject of a preliminary investigation opened by the National Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2015.

It broke out in February 2015 with the publication, in the Nigerian weekly Le Courrier, of documents relating to the sale in the fall of 2011 of a large quantity of uranium for $ 320 million.

The stock was initially sold by Areva to a Russian company, Energo Alyans, which later sold it to Optima Energy Offshore in Lebanon.

A few days later, Optima sold the uranium to Niger’s state-owned Niger Mines Corporation (Sopamin). Areva then bought this stock from Sopamin at a price much higher than the price at which it initially sold it.

Retrocommissions?

“It was a trading operation as part of an integrated offer,” said spokesman Areva Christophe Neugnot in April. Clearly, the French group was in contact with an operator interested in buying nuclear power plants who also wanted, in order to secure its supply, to obtain uranium.

“Finally, the sale of the reactor was not made, we bought the uranium”, with ultimately “a loss of 18 million dollars,” added Mr. Neugnot.

Investigators question the capital gains pocketed by intermediaries, including “$ 82 million for Energo Alyans (…), unknown to traders (and) who would have disappeared completely shortly after the facts”, d ‘ after the newspaper Jeune Afrique.

“They want to know if, in general, this montage could have been used to hide commissions or retrocommissions”, according to one of the sources close to the file.

The group is at the center of another investigation into the acquisition of a Canadian mining company, Uramin, which owns three uranium deposits in Africa, for which it paid 1.8 billion euros in 2007.

The operation had turned into a fiasco: after the departure of his boss Anne Lauvergeon, Areva had divided by five the value of the company and passed, at the end of 2011, a heavy provision of 1.5 billion euros.

This controversial buyout is at the heart of two judicial information. One relates to suspicions of fraud and corruption during the acquisition of Uramin, the other concerns the provisions inscribed by Areva, magistrates suspecting group officials for presenting inaccurate accounts to hide the collapse in the value of Canadian society.

Under the leadership of the French state, Areva is engaged in a vast restructuring. Its reactors business should notably come under the control of EDF by the end of the year.

These measures should enable it to recover from heavy setbacks attributable to the setbacks of the construction of its EPR reactor in Finland, the financial fiasco of the acquisition of Uramin and the sluggishness of the atom sector since the Fukushima accident. (Japan) in 2011.

Source French only

https://info.arte.tv/fr/afp/actualites/perquisition-au-siege-dareva-en-lien-avec-une-vente-duranium-nigerien-en-2011

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November 28, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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