Following the forensic probe by an independent US law firm, Italian oil giant, Eni has been exonerated of any wrong doing in the acquisition of OPL 245 licence (an exploration block estimated to contain up to 9bn barrels of oil — enough to cover Nigeria’s current total annual production for more than a decade).
According to the press statement released by Eni;
The independent US law firm, which they failed to name, has reiterated the conclusions reached by previous investigations carried out in 2015, stating that there is no evidence of corrupt conduct in relation to the transaction.
CEO, Claudio Descalzi, stated in an interview with the Financial Times that Eni did nothing wrong in the acquisition of the oil license, “at every stage, we have acted in compliance with all applicable law. Eni and Shell paid the government of Nigeria, and were not involved with the government decision on how to use such money” he said.
It will be recalled that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had ordered the temporary forfeiture of assets and transfer of operations of the long-disputed oilfield owned by Shell and Eni, among others, to the federal government.
The court order is expected to last until Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency concludes an investigation into how the current owners acquired the oil prospecting licence (OPL) 245. Read the press release in its entirety below:
Eni: further forensic investigations confirm no illegal conduct in acquisition of Opl 245 licence
Rome, 28 February 2017 – 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 or its CEO Claudio Descalzi were involved in alleged illecit conduct under investigation.
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