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VENTURES AFRICA – Italian oil firm Eni says no illegal activities in Algeria had been uncovered following the completion of an independent audit after its subsidiary Saipem was accused of bribing a government official.
Saipem, which is 43 percent owned by Eni was earlier alleged to been involved in a $268 million bribery scandal with a government official in a bid to secure contracts in Algeria worth an estimated $11 billion.
Investigations were subsequently opened by Algerian and Italian authorities, leading to the dismissal of several top level employees while CEO Paolo Scaroni continues to face interrogations from prosecutors.
Both Saipem and Eni have previously denied all allegations and believe the conclusion of the audit proves they’re innocent.
“The results of the audits revealed neither evidence of illegal or corrupt conducts of Eni, nor the existence of intermediary contracts between Eni and the third parties under investigation,” Eni said in a statement released to Reuters.
Contents of the audit report will be forwarded judicial authorities, the Italian oil major revealed.
Eni, Italy’s largest industrial company with market cap of $90 billion, is a major player in Africa’s oil and gas industry, holding key assets across the continent after agreements with major exporters including Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria.