Eni Confirms Probe into Alleged Bribes

The Italian oil company Eni, and its Saipem subsidiary, said in a statement Wednesday that they are the injured parties in an investigation into alleged bribes related to contracts in Kuwait and Iraq.

BusinessWeek says Milan prosecutors are investigating whether executives took bribes from Italian engineering and construction firms for subcontracts in Iraq's Zubair oil field and Kuwait's Jurassic fields.

Mario Reali, the former head of Eni offices in Russia, told investigators about alleged payoffs related to contracts in Kazakhstan, and this led investigators in Milan to look into similar allegations related to the Jurassic oil field in Kuwait and the Zubair oil field in Iraq, Italian news agency Adnkronos International reports.

Eni said it has taken "immediate disciplinary and precautionary action against the individuals involved," and that it would take any necessary action to safeguard its own "interests and reputation."

Eni identified the two employees under investigation as an Eni manager in Iraq and a Saipem executive in Italy involved in a project in Kuwait. Eni confirmed their offices have been searched.

News reports said three mediators also were under investigation.

Eni and Saipem -- an oil contractor -- also are under investigation as entities that benefited from the alleged crimes.

Eni leads a consortium developing the Zubair oil field in Iraq, while Saipem has a contract for oil and gas treatment facilities in Kuwait.

(Sources: BusinessWeek, UPI)

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