Italy May Ban Eni From Kazakhstan Over Kickbacks

A Milan court may ban Italy’s energy giant Eni from operating in Kazakhstan where the firm is developing the oil-rich Kashagan field, over allegations the company gave bribes to Timur Kulibayev, son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev, Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper reported on Thursday.

The Italian prosecutors suspect Agip Kco firm, Eni’s subsidiary in Kazakhstan, in giving bribes to Kulibayev through 2007. The overall amount of bribes may be $20 million at minimum though the funds were to be used for investment projects, the paper reported.

Eni’s top managers, including the company’s head, Paolo Scaroni, may be charged with promoting international corruption if the allegations are proven, the paper said.

Eni was unavailable to comment for RIA Novosti.

European prosecutors have repeatedly investigated Kulibayev, who heads the Kazakh Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna, over bribery allegations. In September 2010, Swiss investigators suspected him of laundering cash received as bribes and illegal sales of Kazakh oil and gas assets.

The giant Kashagan oil field, located in the northern part of the Caspian Sea, is being developed by France’s Total, U.S. ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell and Japan’s Inpex as well as by Eni and Kazakhstan’s KMG Kashagan B.V. Its geological reserves are estimated at 4.850 billion tons of oil.


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