Innovatio sale delayed by shocking allegations.
NEW CALDARI - The acquisition of Innovaatio Varustukset by Ishukone Corporation, scheduled for April 11, was derailed by a last minute scandal when accusations of underhanded business dealings between the two corporations surfaced. The Chief Executive Panel of the Caldari State (CEP) has ordered a temporary halt on the sale to begin an inquiry into the matter.
The trade which was set to occur at a ceremony held in station at New Caldari, was almost finalised when Kalaakiota Corporation representative Paavo Arto burst into the boardroom, delivering an official mandate from the Chief Executive Panel that the transaction be immediately postponed.
Details of the CEP order or the evidence that provoked it have not yet been released. Unconfirmed statements from non-official sources have hinted that the decision to temporarily halt the merger was based on irregularities they found to have occurred in the bidding process, that directly benefited the Ishukone Corporation. These allegations are lent weight by the words of Mr. Arto himself, who stated to a stunned New Caldari audience: “I have evidence that proves that some of the records for the final bids on INNVA were covered from public view.” Speculation about the nature of the irregularities behind the CEP order has been fuelled primarily by comments made at the press conference prior to the aborted signing.
After answering several questions about the substantial financial benefits offered by the merger, Ishukone representative Martti Vilho also potentially implicated Ishukone in an offhand remark that stated: "Ishukone offered many things outside pure ISK that the other mega corporations could not offer." In the context of the CEP order and statements made at the event by Arto, the exact nature of those additional benefits has been called into question. Others have defended the remark, claiming that the situation has allowed many to twist Mr. Vilho’s words.
The reaction from many capsuleers present at the ceremony varied greatly. Some remained unsurprised by the allegations, deriding Ishukone for dishonest business practices and worse. Others claimed that Innovaatio and Ishukone were the target of unfair and devious manoeuvres themselves, stating that proceedings were being sabotaged by envious Corporations seeking to damage reputations and slow the transaction with bureaucratic red tape and political mudslinging. The lack of details regarding either the CEP mandate or the evidence that supported it’s issuing have only further polarised opinion.
The press conference was the culmination of a heated bidding war between several Caldari mega corporations for the small, privately held military development corporation. When the final bid was in, Ishukone had obligated themselves to pay 680 billion ISK, a final price exceeding most analysts and is now itself being questioned. Initially, the size of Ishukone's interest was thought to centre around unconfirmed rumours that Innovaatio is currently developing a new cloaking device that would allow warp movement during operation; a sure boon to Ishukone given their own contracts with the Caldari Navy. Following the scandal in New Caldari however, many have said that the surprisingly large final bid was now “obviously inflated.”
Despite the setbacks and allegations, Innovaatio CEO Markku Samuli stated that "proceedings will be cleared up in a few days and the sale will go forward as planned." Ishukone Corporation CEO Otro Gariushi was unavailable for comment due to his attendance at a possibly related CEP meeting.