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Eni/OPL 245 growing global bribery probe

Jaclyn Jaeger | Extracts from article published Sept 19, 2017

Italian oil giant Eni in a public filing this month revealed further details about what corruption allegations and investigations its facing around the world.

Corruption allegations against Eni now include Nigeria, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Algeria, and Congo. The number of enforcement authorities, employees, and subsidiaries involved in these allegations has also grown.

Block OPL 245 — Nigeria. Eni first mentioned allegations of international corruption in a Form 6-K (Report of Foreign Issuer) in 2014. In that report, the company said that it had been served with a notice of investigation in July 2014 by the Italian Public Prosecutor in Milan “relating to potential liability on the part of Eni arising from alleged international corruption.”

At the time, Eni said the prosecutor had commenced investigations “involving a third-party external to the group, and other unidentified persons.” As part of the proceeding, Eni said it was also subpoenaed for documents and other evidence.

The investigation resulted from a claim filed by ReCommon NGO relating to alleged corrupt practices which the prosecutor said would have involved a resolution agreement made in April 2011 relating to the Oil Prospecting license of the offshore oilfield that was discovered in Block 245 in Nigeria.

Eni said it is “fully cooperating with the prosecutor” and promptly filed the requested documentation. Furthermore, Eni said it reported the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Eni said it voluntarily contacted the U.S. Department of Justice and SEC in 2012 to inform them about this matter and about the developments in the Italian prosecutors’ investigations. In response, both agencies have launched investigations.

“Eni has furnished various information and documents, including the findings of its internal reviews, in response to formal and informal requests,” the company stated in its Sept. 7 Form 6-K.

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Jaclyn Jaeger | April 18, 2017
Damning new evidence published last week by Global Witness and Finance Uncovered, revealing a vast trove of leaked e-mails, shows that oil giant Royal Dutch Shell knowingly engaged in a widespread bribery scheme to acquire oil exploration rights in Nigeria.“This is one of the worst corruption scandals the oil industry has ever seen, and this is the biggest development so far,” Simon Taylor, director and co-founder of Global Witness, said in a statement.

The investigation itself is not new. In 2011, Shell and Italian oil company Eni paid $1.1 billion to secure rights to one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks, known as OPL 245—a murky deal that Global Witness has been investigating ever since. The heart of the report, “Shell Knew,” shows that the money for the deal went directly into the pockets of Dan Etete, former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum and a convicted money… To get the full story, subscribe now.

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