Italian appeals court acquits Saipem, Eni in Algerian bribery case

Italian appeals court acquits Saipem, Eni in Algerian bribery case
Published: 19 January 2020 - 8:30 a.m.

An Italian appeals court has acquitted oil services group Saipem and oil firm Eni of corruption in a trial over bribery allegations in Algeria.

The judgment also lifted an asset seizure order.

In a ruling on Wednesday, the court also acquitted a series of other defendants, including former Eni Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni and former Saipem CEO Pietro Tali.

“It’s a historic ruling ... we’ve been reiterating Saipem’s total innocence for seven years. Saipem now won’t have to book charges to cover any eventual conviction,” Saipem lawyer Enrico Giarda said.

However, prosecutors appealed the ruling, which asked for a prison sentence for Scaroni, a fine of 900,000 euros ($1 million) for Eni and the seizure of assets worth 197 million euros.

The long-running case involves allegations that Saipem paid intermediaries about 198 million euros to secure contracts worth eight billion euros with Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach.

Saipem is a global leader in engineering, drilling and construction of major projects in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, it is present in over 70 countries worldwide and has 32,000 employees.

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