Eni corruption probe spreads from Nigeria to five countries; New disclosure lists Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Congo, Algeria
A United States Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing last week by a giant Italian oil company showed how a corruption investigation has grown, starting three years ago in Nigeria but spreading now to include Algeria, Congo, Kazakhstan and Kuwait. The case has given Nigeria a very bad global image had earlier involved investigations in France and Italy.
Eni SpA first disclosed potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)-related violations in an SEC filing in September 2014. The company’s Form 6-K (Report of Foreign Issuer) disclosed “alleged international corruption” related to the acquisition of offshore Block OPL 245 in Nigeria.
But Eni’s disclosure last week in a new Form 6-K filed with the SEC on September 7 revealed how the FCPA-related investigation has expanded and spread over the past three years. It now involves five subsidiaries of the company, six government agencies, five countries and two industry as against the one country (Nigeria), no subsidiaries, only three government agencies and one industry listed in 2014.
Below are details in the 2014 Disclosure:
0 subsidiaries named
1 country involved
3 government agencies involved
1 industry involved
5 subsidiaries named
5 countries involved
6 government agencies involved
2 industries involved
This is a small sample of the information Eni included in the new 2,700-word disclosure about the FCPA-related investigation. The original 2014 disclosure was 247 words.
The Italian government controls about a third of Eni. The company, considered an oil and gas “super major,” operates in 73 countries with 33,000 employees.
Eni SpA trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol E.
However, the Board of Directors of Eni (Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited) had in a previous statement said the transactions which resulted in the auctioning of $1,616,690,656.78 Malabu oil block were not fraudulent.
The oil firm said it based its position on the outcome of forensic investigations into the block.
It disclosed that an independent US law firm conducted the investigations and returned a not guilty verdict.
The statement said: “Eni’s Board of Directors today takes note of the outcome of further forensic investigations into the 2011 transaction between Eni and Shell and the Nigerian Government for the acquisition of the OPL 245 licence in Nigeria.
The investigations were conducted by an independent US law firm. They were commissioned by Eni’s Board of Statutory Auditors and Watch Structure.
“The investigations examined the new materials and further information filed by the Milan prosecutors as part of the closure of the investigation in December 2016.
“The law firm confirms the conclusions reached by previous investigations in 2015, stating that there is no evidence of corrupt conduct in relation to the transaction.
Eni’s Board of Directors confirmed its total confidence that neither the company nor its CEO Claudio Descalzi were involved in alleged illicit conduct under investigation.”