San Donato Milanese (MI), 3 November 2021 – With regard to the broadcast last Monday by the Report programme, Eni wishes to express its disappointment at the false and misleading information aired, including the slanderous statements by Vincenzo Armanna and the previously convicted Piero Amara, to whom the Report, contrary to decisions of the Court of Milan, continues to give airtime and an impression of credibility.
The broadcast focused on the video recording of a meeting that took place on 28 July 2014 at the offices of businessman Ezio Bigotti (for whom Amara was legal counsel), in which Armanna, in the presence of Amara and other individuals, for the purposes of personal profit in relation to the company’s Nigerian activities, declared that he wanted to take out some Eni managers because they were considered an obstacle to his criminal intentions. Eni notes that just a few days later, following the depositions of Armanna himself at the Milan Public Prosecutor's Office, the former CEO of Eni and the current CEO were entered in the register of suspects in the Eni-Nigeria trial.
Having said this, and pointing out that Eni has been reporting Armanna and Amara for some years in relation to their false declarations made in various areas of investigation, without any action being taken by the Milan Public Prosecutor, the company reiterates the following.
- Contrary to that claimed by Report, Eni did not have the video in question or its full transcript before the opportunity to acquire it emerged as part of the Eni-Nigeria trial on 23 July 2019. Eni only had an excerpt of a few pages, which was worthless for defence and trial purposes. On the contrary, the Milan Public Prosecutor had had it since the spring of 2017. We would like to know why he did not file it either at the preliminary hearing stage or during proceedings, except at the request of the Court? Indeed, we note that the responsibility to file this document belonged to the Milan Public Prosecutor, and not Eni (which in any event did not have it), as can be seen from the charge by the Brescia Public Prosecutor's Office against De Pasquale and Spadaro.
- Contrary to the claims made by the Report and the slanderous Armanna, the video was not recorded by Amara to frame Armanna on behalf of Eni, but by the host Bigotti, who regularly recorded meetings that took place at his offices. Proof of this is provided by a second video, dated 18 December 2014, also recorded at Bigotti’s offices, where Armanna does not appear and Piero Amara promises to "eliminate" another Eni manager, confirming the criminal scheme. This video is also in the hands of the Milan Public Prosecutor, as well as available publicly and on information websites. It is very strange that Report did not take this into account in their programme. Therefore, Amara did not record anything, and that being the case, Eni did not receive anything from him, neither shortly after the recording was made, nor subsequently.
- It has been proven in multiple documents filed by Eni with the Milan Public Prosecutor that Amara and Armanna worked against the company with the support (and in some cases the complicity) of some former internal managers, who were promptly removed from Eni. Thanks to this support they also profited from the trading activities of the Napag company, which managed to finalise some commercial transactions with the group. Eni has been reporting Napag for over 27 months, providing clear and unequivocal evidence of the scams carried out, stating the times, methods and perpetrators. There has been no feedback on this from the Milan Public Prosecutor until now and this has resulted in serious damage to Eni.
- From the tenor and content of the questions on events in Nigeria sent to Eni by the Report programme in March 2019, it is clear that the editorial staff, unlike Eni, had the full transcript of the video and in all probabilities, the video itself. In this regard, Eni finds it completely unacceptable that instead of sharing this document with its audience to provide them with complete and correct information on the matter, the broadcaster acted as an intermediary by sharing it with the multi-convicted criminal Amara and the defendant Armanna, giving them the opportunity to collude in preparing their statements and consequently leading to a contamination of the evidence.
Finally, there are judgements which have been inexplicably sidelined. The first relating to the Eni-Nigeria trial which ended last March with the acquittal of the company and its managers "because there was no case to answer". In the second instance, the same outcome put an end to the related trial against Emeka Obi and Gianluca Di Nardo. Finally, in recent news, the Attorney General rejected Nigeria's request for a Supreme Court appeal against the acquittal of Obi and Di Nardo, consequently determining the "non-existence" of those same facts relating to the offences that Eni and its managers were charged with, and declaring "there is no doubt that Eni managers, as well as the intermediaries, were not involved in the typical conduct of the crime of corruption".
The non-involvement of Eni's management in corrupt acts in Nigeria only confirms what the company has always known and stated in every instance relating to the slanderous statements of Amara and Armanna: they were acting in the interest of themselves or their associates, and certainly not to mislead or divert investigations against innocent people who (in addition to not having committed some of the criminal facts under investigation), as such, obviously had no need for or interest in this activity.
For completeness of information on the events described, please see Eni’s website, where it is possible to see the communication sent by Eni to Report before the broadcast and multiple official documents supporting the claims made by the company.