The broker acted on behalf of Malabu, not Eni. IT IS A FALSE CLAIM to state that Eni made use of a concealed broker.
Emeka Obi, a representative of the Nigerian consulting firm Energy Venture Partners Ltd., acted as a broker for Malabu, not for Eni.
In their petition to the Public Prosecutor in Milan, the three NGOs quoted the statements made by Dan Etete, Nigeria’s Oil Minister in 1998 and subsequently a representative of Malabu, to the High Court of Justice in London, according to which Emeka Obi should be seen as a broker working for Eni, and the payment he requested was to be partly kicked back to Eni managers. The NGOs report the investigations initiated by the British and American authorities into the acquisition of OPL 245. It should be noted that these investigations were then closed.
Emeka Obi acted as a broker of Malabu, not of Eni. This was confirmed by the British judge at the end of the civil hearing mentioned by the NGOs. It was Obi who had applied to the High Court of Justice for the right to be paid by Malabu for the brokerage carried out on its behalf.
To escape this obligation, Dan Etete maintained that Obi did not work for him, but rather for the Italian counterpart. To strengthen his position, Etete added the allegations about the Eni managers. However, based on the investigation carried out by the Commercial Court – a division of the British High Court of Justice1 – Lady Justice Gloster granted Obi the sum of $110 million as a commission for the brokerage carried out for Malabu, thus excluding any involvement of Eni.
1 The Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice specialises in complex international commercial lawsuits.