The boss of the company behind controversial plans for a huge offshore windfarm near Aberdeen is being investigated over claims he took a cash bribe during a takeover deal.
Vattenfall has confirmed an independent inquiry into chief executive officer Oystein Loseth has been launched to tackle “rumours” that he pocketed extra cash from an acquisition in 2009.
The probe comes just weeks after the Swedish utility company was granted planning permission to build 11 turbines in Aberdeen Bay.
Mr Loseth said he welcomed the investigation – which will examine whether he received “extra remuneration” when Vattenfall acquired Dutch company Nuon.
“It is difficult to singlehandedly defend oneself against these accusations when no data is presented,” he said last night.
“I want to clarify that I have not received any extraordinary benefits. I received regular compensation in the form of salary, bonus and pension. The payments are reported in Vattenfall’s and Nuon’s annual reports.
“So I welcome an investigation that can put an end to this rumour.”
The company’s partners in the Aberdeen project – the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) – said they knew nothing about the investigation when contacted by the Press and Journal last night.
Project spokesman Iain Todd said the issue was for Vattenfall to deal with and he would not be commenting.
Lars Nordstrom, president of the board of directors at Vattenfall, hopes the probe will restore confidence in the firm’s hierarchy.
“We want to once and for all clarify whether there is any substance in the rumour that Oystein Loseth would have received any additional compensation in connection with the acquisition of Nuon,” he said. “We therefore, with his full consent, set up an independent investigation.
“Unconfirmed rumours of additional compensation to Oystein Loseth in connection with the acquisition of Nuon have circulated earlier.
“But since named sources of information now have been quoted in media an investigation is to be initiated.
“We want everybody to feel confident that the matter is thoroughly investigated. The person who will lead the investigation will be announced soon.”
The EOWDC is a joint venture by Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.
The £230million project is aimed at providing the equivalent of enough energy for more than 49,000 homes, according to the developers.
The Scottish Government said the centre would allow offshore wind developers and supply chain companies to test “cutting-edge” wind technology before its commercial deployment.
It would consist of 11 turbines standing more than 600ft tall less than two miles from Aberdeen’s shore.
First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed approval for the project, which was granted by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing last month.
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