Thursday 16 January 2020 12:05 pm

Lekoil fraud scandal firm says it will help investigation

The consultancy which is alleged to have brokered Lekoil’s loan deal with a Qatari wealth fund has issued a statement announcing its own investigation into the matter.

Seawave Invest, which West African oil explorer said it had paid $600,000 for introducing it to the individuals “purporting to be the [representatives] of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA)” said it takes the allegations “very seriously.”

It added that it could not comment on the “details of the existing transaction”, but welcomed Lekoil’s investigation.

Bismarck Abrafi, who is listed as managing partner of the organisation, which has offices in the Bahamas and Ghana, told City A.M. on Linkedin: “At the moment our comments is what has been posted.”

Abrafi is listed as having executive roles with various organisations, such as Georgetown Genesis Group and RSP Energy.

Yesterday Seawave was accused of falsely trading on the name of another business with which it failed to make a deal.

The consultancy listed Canadian healthcare firm Kallo on its website, despite not having permission to do so. The Financial Times reported that the company had been approached by Seawave over a potential partnership, but nothing had materialised.

Seawave has now updated its the webpage in question to show the message “update in progress.”

Shares in Lekoil fell over 70 per cent on Tuesday after the company revealed that it had fallen victim to the alleged fraud.

In a statement, the firm said the deal “seems to have been entered into by the company with individuals who have constructed a complex facade in order to masquerade as representatives of the QIA.”

Sources close to QIA told City A.M. that the fund had no knowledge of any loan. The company later confirmed a full investigation into the fake deal, which was intended for the financing of drilling and development on the Ogo field off Nigeria.

The future of Lekoil’s 17 per cent stake in the field is now reportedly in doubt, as the company needs to find $40m by next month.