UPDATE: Oceanteam chairman quits. Accuses ex-CFO, MD of fraud
- Business & Finance
The article has been updated on April 3, 2018, to include responses from Lex van Doorn, and Torbjørn Skulstad who deny allegations made by Hessel Halbesma.
Hessel Halbesma, Chairman of Dutch-Norwegian offshore vessel owner Oceanteam, has offered his resignation “to mitigate against further repercussion against the company and to diffuse the misinformation that is circulating currently.”
He follows the steps of his son Haico Halbesma who resigned from the CEO position of the company only a week ago after having led the company since 2005. Haico Halbesma also resigned for similar reasons as his father.
The two have reportedly been accused of “skimming-off money” by former CFO Torbjorn Skulstad and minor shareholder Roger Nymo. The Halbesma duo has denied any wrongdoing.
In a lengthy letter released on Thursday, Hessel Halbesma accused former CFO Skulstad of colluding with Lex van Doorn – former Managing Director of an Oceanteam business branch – to “perpetuate a massive procurement fraud.”
Halbesma also revealed a part of a yet to be published forensic investigation report. According to Hessel Halbesma, the report “due to be published” reveals that Lex van Doorn (former MD Oceanteam Solutions) has undertaken a “sophisticated procurement fraud for many millions of euro’s (sic) during the period 2013 to 2016.”
Halbesma also said, citing the forensic report, that company procedures and internal controls within Oceanteam, under the direct responsibility of our CFO at that time, had been blatantly disregarded, and that Skulstad as CFO was ultimately culpable to ensure all that all the financial aspects of the company were transparent and indisputable.
“By feigning ignorance of the fraudulent activities despite being ultimately responsible for all financial regulation, Mr. Skulstad has colluded and connived to enable Mr. van Doorn to perpetuate a massive procurement fraud,” Halbesma said.
He added: “The CEO, the board and I as the chairman, have done all that we possibly can to bring the company to its present sound and healthy situation despite the indisputable damage that has been caused by the few, however, to allow Oceanteam to grow and evolve without slur or mistrust.”
“We have identified the most critical forces that have been trying to undermine this beautiful company, As said I now create room for a new leadership that will be able to draft the future of Oceanteam.”
“I understand that I best serve all of the stakeholders by relinquishing my position on the board of company; a company that I have made a deep financial and emotional investment in maintaining.
“With this in mind, I now offer my resignation as chairman of the board of Oceanteam with immediate effect. However, where needed, I offer to remain available in the role of ‘close advisor’ until the end of 2018 in order to enable a smooth and viable transition for all concerned.”
MD owner of Emporos Offshore?
Haico Halbesma, who resigned last week, in February said that Oceanteam found out that Emporos Offshore Ltd, based in Singapore, turned out to be 100% owned, through a Dutch entity named Bovando BV, by the managing director of OceanTeam Solutions division – Lex van Doorn.
“Once this was examined further, it became clear that a substantial amount of time and resources were being charged and it was of such a scale that we decided to suspend Lex van Doorn as a director and engage a forensic accountancy team to go through all related party transactions again independently,” the younger Halbesma said.
Haico Halbesma also said that immediately following the suspension of Lex van Doorn, “his brother, Mr Jan van Doorn, who had worked as a technical manager at Oceanteam Solutions since 2013, resigned and started working for the Dutch Steel Fabricators group of companies.”
“At present, we have reason to believe that this new company has infringed on our intellectual property, with regard to one of our technological applications. As a consequence we will be seeking legal redress,” Haico Halbesma said in February.
Van Doorn, Skulstad deny allegations
In an email sent to Offshore Energy Today, Lex van Doorn, has deemed the Halbesmas’ accusations as “libel and slander,” which affect “my name and good honor and will have cost impact on my future.”
He said these allegations were unlawful and not based on facts and it is not determined that Van Doorn committed any fraud.
Van Doorn said his lawyers “have done criminal proceedings against Oceanteam and Halbesma for libel, defamation, insulting language, damage and all offenses that may be considered relevant.”
We have asked Lex van Doorn to provide more details into the allegations. We will update the article, or run a separate one, when and if we get a response from Lex van Doorn.
Torbjørn Skulstad, former CEO also accused of committing fraud by Hessel Halbesma family, told Offshore Energy Today: “Mr. Halbesma is coming with false accusations. From public information, Mr. Halbesma is under investigation from Bergen Tingrett for enrichment of himself on Oceanteam’s behalf.”
Offshore Energy Today Staff