ENI CEO Descalzi probed over alleged Nigeria bribe

Reportedly accused of international corruption

(ANSA) - Milan, September 11 - Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Italian energy giant ENI, is being probed by investigators in Milan over the alleged payment of a huge bribe to obtain an oil-field concession in Nigeria.
    Descalzi's predecessor Paolo Scaroni and ENI Chief Development, Operations and Technology Officer Roberto Casula are also among several people under investigation for alleged international corruption. The alleged bribe dates back to 2011, when ENI paid $1.09 billion to Nigeria for the Opl-245 oil-field concession. At the time Scaroni was ENI's CEO and Descalzi was at the helm of the company's oil division. "ENI continues to deny any illegal conduct," read an ENI statement on Thursday after Corriere della Sera broke the story of the probe. "ENI highlights that it entered into agreements for the acquisition of the block only with government of Nigeria and Shell. The entire payment for the issuance of the license to Eni and Shell was made uniquely to the Nigerian government...
    "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".
    Milan prosecutor's managed to get authorities in Switzerland and Britain to make a preventative seizures totalling $190 million from accounts in the name of a Nigerian middle man.
    ENI's share price on the Milan stock exchange lost over 2% after the news of the probe broke.
    The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement called for Descalzi, who took charge of the State-controlled company in May, and the rest of the board to be sacked and the company put into the hands of a specially appointed commissioner. "It is now clear that it is not possible for ENI's ordinary activities to continue because of the serious defects revealed in its economic and assets management," read an M5S statement.


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