Eni under investigation for alleged bribery in Nigeria

The Milan Prosecutor’s office in Italy is investigating allegations that Claudio Descalzi, a CEO of the country’s largest oil company Eni, was involved in a bribery scandal in Nigeria.


The investigation is related to the 2011 acquisition of the OPL 245 block, offshore Nigeria, which Shell and Eni jointly bought for a reported sum of $1 billion.

“Eni is cooperating with the Milan prosecutor’s office, and is confident that the correctness of its actions will emerge during the course of the investigation,” Eni said in a statement.

The company has revealed that according to documents received yesterday as part of a foreign procedure ordering the seizure of a third party’s bank account, following a request by the Prosecutor of Milan, Eni’s CEO and Chief Development, Operations and Technology Officer are under preliminary investigation by the Milan prosecutor’s office.

Descalzi was appointed Eni CEO in May this year. Prior to that, he was Chief Operating Officer of Eni – Exploration & Production Division – since July 2008.

The company claims it was not involved in any wrongdoings saying that “the entire payment for the issuance of the license to Eni and Shell was made uniquely to the Nigerian government.”

According to an article published by Global Witness last year, the payment was made by Shell and Eni to the Nigerian government who had a separate agreement to pay the same amount to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company believed at the time of the payments to be have been controlled by “convicted money-launderer” and former oil minister Chief Dan Etete.  The article further says that the money was then transferred to five separate secret accounts.

Eni and Shell have denied such allegations.

 

Offshore Energy Today Staff, September 11, 2014

 

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