Is PetroSaudi Facing Financial Melt-down?

Is PetroSaudi Facing Financial Melt-down?

Remaining Director, Patrick Mahony

Remaining Director, Patrick Mahony

PetroSaudi was presented as a company with $3.5 billion worth of oil assets when 1MDB entered a joint venture with it in September 2009.

Yet it appears to have been having difficulties filing its accounts in its main administrative centre, which is London.

Observers noted that accounts for the year 2015, which should have been filed in September for its two main subsidiaries, based in the swankey offices of 1 Curzon Street in Mayfair, were severely overdue and incurring fines.

Finally, on December 31st, one of the two companies PetroSaudi Energy and Trading (UK) Limited (incorporated in 2011) did produce its belated accounts, only to announce that it has ceased trading, owing to “difficult market conditions”:

"Ceased trading owing to difficult market conditions"

“Ceased trading owing to difficult market conditions”

The late report also shows that ex-White & Case lawyer, Tim Buckland resigned his position as a Director of this subsidiary in July 2015, coincidentally at the height of the revelations about the joint venture with 1MDB. It is still unrecorded whether he has left the company entirely, since the other filing for PetroSaudi International (UK) are now a quarter of a year late.

Problem paying debts

There is an even more significant acknowledgement within these accounts, which is that the now dormant oil trading arm of PetroSaudi is still saddled with a $16.36 million debt and there is a material concern that it won’t be able to pay it back.

A fellow subsidiary of the parent company to PetroSaudi Energy Trading (UK) has shouldered the money for now

A fellow subsidiary of the parent company to PetroSaudi Energy Trading (UK) has shouldered the money for now

According to these carefully worded accounts PetroSaudi Energy Trading (UK) Limited is relying of a fellow subsidiary of its international parent group (PetroSaudi Oil Services Limited) to pay the interest on this debt.

Resigned July 2015 - Tim Buckland

Resigned July 2015 – Tim Buckland

Given that the PetroSaudi Group has been presented to Malaysia by its Finance Minister as a major international oil company with several subsidiaries and a hugely wealthy base of assets (backed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) this seems a rather tenuous state of affairs.

It gets worse. The filings go on to explain that the PetroSaudi Oil Services is having a bit of a spot of financial bother itself, because its own subsidiary (believed to be PetroSaudi’s Venezuela operation) is in a dispute with its sole customer (believed to be the government of Venezuela) and the matter is in arbitration and at the moment it isn’t being paid.

This means it many not be able to continue to support the British based company:

Problems servicing a $16 million dollar debt?

Problems servicing a $16 million dollar debt?

The accounts go on to explain that the British company’s ultimate parent company, believed to be owned by Tarek Obaid (but it doesn’t have to file any details from its off-shore base in the Cayman Islands) has extended a $45 million dollar ‘shareholder loan’ to the UK operation. However, it is recoverable at any time and the facility expired end of 2015.

Shareholder loan facility of $45 million - unsecured and can be withdrawn

Shareholder loan facility of $45 million – unsecured and can be withdrawn

According to the accounts around $10 million appears to have been drawn from that shareholder loan from the parent company owned by Obaid. Another $6 million has been drawn from its fellow subsidiary, the original UK company PetroSaudi International (UK), which was set up in early 2009.

We are yet to be informed about the financial state of PetroSaudi International (UK), given the accounts which are over 3 months late.

The group has lost money on PetroSaudi Energy Trading (UK)

The group has lost money on PetroSaudi Energy & Trading (UK)

The Saudi Prince Turki (a nephew of the current King) resigned from his 50% partnership in PetroSaudi in 2014.  The venture appears to have lost its attraction to him – Tarek Obaid appears to have been in a position to buy him out, which is saying quite something for a company worth billions.

Happier days - Tarek Obaid (right) as a partner in the F1 Renault Team in 2010, before parting ways after a brief 6 months.

Happier days – Tarek Obaid (right) as a partner in the F1 Renault Team in 2010, before parting ways after a brief 6 months.

Unless, what Sarawak Report has long since pointed out is true. Which is that PetroSaudi was little more than a series of shell companies in 2009, before it received a welcome injection of $300 million for acting as a front in 1MDB’s pretended ‘Government to Government’ joint venture.

The supposed assets valued by US banker Ed Morse at $3.5 billion were a fraud.  And now that the money has been splurged on a deceptive and contested investment in Venezuela, Directors Patrick Mahony and Tarek Obaid are beginning to find how easy it is for reckless young businessmen to loose tens of millions in a very short time.

The legal bills over the past year for hounding news organisations attempting to cover the 1MDB story and fighting off regulators certainly can’t have helped. PetroSaudi International UK are going to have to file their accounts at some stage soon, or else the remaining Director(s) will fall foul of the law.

Easy comes easy goes, as the saying runs.

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