- According to the report of Guardia di Finanza of December 2016 filed in the Public Prosecutor’s records, there is no evidence of kickbacks to the current CEO Claudio Descalzi, his predecessor Paolo Scaroni or, indeed, any other Eni top manager.
- According to Vincenzo Armanna, at the time of these events responsible for Eni’s mining activities in the sub-Saharan region and a co-defendant in the court case, part of the payment for the OPL 245 operation, “fifty million in $100 banknotes”, “was given to Eni’s chairman (…), i.e. Paolo Scaroni” (statements made on 21 April, 2016 to the Public Prosecutor, reported by Claudio Gatti in his book Enigate, published by Il Fatto SpA in 2018 – page 196).
- Armanna claims he had been informed about this transfer of cash by a certain Victor Nwafor, whom he defined as “the head of security at the Nigerian Presidential residence.” Nwafor was, in turn, allegedly made aware of this event by third parties. The money, “which filled two very large trolleys,” “was first taken to Abuja and then transported out of Nigeria using a private jet, an aircraft owned by Eni”.
No payment was made to Eni’s top managers
With reference to the statements made by witness/co-defendant Armanna, five points need to be clarified:
- In his subsequent statements to the Court of Milan in July 2017, Armanna withdrew his testimony in full and stated he “had never said there had been any case of bribery” to the benefit of Eni’s senior managers.
- Questioned by the Court of Milan, Victor Nwafor, Armanna’s alleged source, stated that “he had never even met Vincenzo Armanna or other Eni managers.”
- A “second Victor” was then summoned as a witness by Armanna, who maintained that the first one, though correctly identified by the Court, was not the right one. His application was rejected.
- A “third Victor” (real name, Isaac Eke) was subsequently summoned as a witness by Armanna, supported by the Prosecutor. However, summoned to give evidence in court, this “third Victor” denied Armanna.
- The head of the AISE in Abuja, Salvatore Castilletti, cited by Armanna as his source regarding the alleged bribe, also stated he had never had anything to do with the OPL 245 matter and had never met the concerned parties.
Finally, the reliability of Armanna’s description of the events is further undermined by significant empirical data: “$50 million in $100 notes” cannot “fit in two trolleys”. The aeronautical experts that spoke during the trial further demonstrated that it is physically impossible to stow $50 million on board of the small aircraft that covered that route at the time, or even for the aircraft to take off, due to their significant weight (500 kg), assuming they could actually be loaded.