U.S. SEC closes Eni investigation

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is closing its investigation into the Italian oil and gas company Eni related to the company’s involvement into a license located offshore Nigeria as well as its activities in Congo.

According to Eni’s statement on Wednesday, separately from the Algeria settlement, the SEC informed Eni that it is closing its pending investigation of Eni, without recommending further enforcement action.

The investigation also encompassed inquiries into the OPL 245 matter and Eni’s activities in Congo.

On 1 October 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice had also closed its investigation of Eni with respect to Algeria and OPL 245 matters without taking any action.

The case in Nigeria was related to Shell and Eni’s acquisition of an offshore block in 2011.

To remind, Eni and Shell jointly bought the block in Nigeria in 2011 for more than one billion dollars.

In 2014, the Milan Prosecutor’s office launched an investigation to see where the payment went and whether Eni and Shell knew, as it had been alleged, that the money did not end up in the state coffers but was passed on further to the former oil minister Dan Etete.

The OPL 245 license had been owned by Malabu oil company, allegedly secretly owned by Etete. The allegations were that the Nigerian government gave the license to Shell and Eni for more than a billion dollars, and then passed the cash further to Malabu, that is, Etete.

Both Eni and Shell have been denying any wrongdoing since the start of the investigation.

With respect to Algeria, Eni reminded that the Court of Appeal of Milan issued in the last days the reason for the full acquittal of Saipem and Eni on any corruption charges rendered in January 2020.