By Axel Reiserer
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) rejects any accusations with regard to its investment in United Group, a leading telecommunications and media provider in south-eastern Europe.
In response to a series of articles in a Serbian newspaper, the Bank states:
All EBRD investments in United Group were made in compliance with the Bank’s policies, regulations and procedures. These include an examination of the investment case, a thorough due diligence process and an assessment of the transition impact of the investment. After the conclusion of this rigorous process, all EBRD investments were approved under authority from, and with the oversight of, the EBRD Board of Directors, which includes a representative of the Republic of Serbia as one of the Bank’s shareholders. These considerations remain fully valid and continue to guide the EBRD’s position with regard to United Group and the Bank’s business engagement with the company.
The EBRD applies its policies to all of its investments, including policies that relate to corporate governance and integrity. That is also the case for the United Group investment. As a shareholder in United Group, the EBRD has ascertained that the company adheres to high standards of corporate governance.
The newspaper explicitly raises accusations against a staff member of the EBRD in connection with United Group. No link exists between the EBRD investments in United Group and the staff member’s position and duties. All EBRD employees are subject to the Bank’s Code of Conduct, which is publicly disclosed on the EBRD website.
The EBRD did engage with the media enquiry and provided answers in a timely and comprehensive way to two sets of questions submitted by the publication.