US graft probe for Eni and Total over Libya deals

SEC is investigating alleged corrupt payments to Libyan oil officials

Eni is the largest single foreign oil producer in Libya, with output nearing pre-war production of 244,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).
Eni is the largest single foreign oil producer in Libya, with output nearing pre-war production of 244,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).

Eni and Total have admitted they are under investigation by America’s Securities and Exchange Commission over their oil deals in Libya, reports Dow Jones.

Dow Jones reports that, according to a US regulatory filing, in June last year Eni received a formal judicial request to submit documents related to its activity in Libya from 2008 to 2011 to the SEC.

"The subpoena is related to an ongoing investigation without further clarifications nor specific alleged violations in connection to 'certain illicit payments to Libyan officials' possibly violating the U.S. Foreign Corruption Practice Act," Eni said, confirming that it received a second request in December last year.

Eni is the largest single foreign oil producer in Libya, with output nearing pre-war production of 244,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd). The Italian firm, a long-standing mover in Libya, also runs the greenstream gas pipeline from Libya to Italy. 13% of Eni’s pre-war group revenue was attributable to Libya.

A former Eni executive, Abdurrahim Ben Yazza, was appointed by the NTC as oil minister in late November.

Total said in its annual report to the SEC last week that "in June 2011, the SEC issued to certain oil companies - including, among others, Total-a formal request for information related to their operations in Libya."

Dow Jones reports that both Eni and Total say they are co-operating with the SEC.

Libya is holding its own corruption probes into Gaddafi-era oil contracts, though no announcement of progress has been made since the National Transitional Council announced the move in December last year.

According to a report by Reuters, the committee will be independent of both the National Oil Company and oil ministry, and will have a wide-ranging remit which may include divestment of current contracts is graft is unearthed.

Libya remains set for elections on 19 June.

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