Eni reacts to arrest warrant for former Nigerian ministers, others

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By GNM News Desk

Eni has reacted to the court order in Nigeria ordering the arrest of two former ministers and others allegedly connected with illegal payments leading to the 2011 acquisition of what is considered one of the biggest oil fields in the West African country.

The move it said seems disproportionating and detrimental to the rights and reputation of these Eni managers.

Eni sources close to Eni said the company has noted the decision of the Federal High Court of Abuja to issue warrants of arrest following a request from the Nigerian prosecution.

It said Eni, and by extension its personnel, have always cooperated with any regulatory investigation and these warrants seem to have originated from the failure by the Nigerian Judicial Authorities to notify and serve the pending proceedings to the Eni managers as per  international procedure for the last two years.

“The decision to seek warrants in this manner the source said seems disproportionating and detrimental to the rights and reputation of these Eni managers,” the source said.

The matters are not related to the ongoing OPL 245 trial in the Milan Court.

Bloomburg source reports that a court in Nigeria ordered the arrest of two former ministers and others allegedly connected with illegal payments leading to the 2011 acquisition of what is considered one of the biggest oil fields in the West African country.

Former Justice Minister and Attorney General Mohammed Adoke, ex-Oil Minister Dan Etete and five foreign nationals linked to the acquisition of Malabu’s Oil Prospecting License 245 were declared wanted Wednesday by Justice Danlami Senchi of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

In court cases in Italy and Nigeria, parties to the transaction including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Eni SpA, are accused of improperly settling disputes over the oil field. Both companies deny any wrongdoing.

The license had originally been awarded in 1998 by Nigeria’s military dictator, Sani Abacha, to Malabu, which his family owned with then-Oil Minister Etete. Under successive governments, the license was canceled, awarded to Shell, and then awarded to Malabu again before the 2011 deal.

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