17 April 2014, News Wires – An Italian court has ruled that Pietro Varone, former chief of oil service firm Saipem’s engineering business, was improperly dismissed in connection with corruption allegations in Algeria, according to a report.
The court, which still has to give the reasons for its decision, also threw out Saipem’s claim for damages against Varone, ordering it instead to pay its former employee almost €1.2 million ($1.7 million), a court document seen by Reuters said.
Saipem, which has said it dismissed Varone on 8 January 2013, said it would appeal the ruling. Varone is the former head of Saipem’s engineering division.
“Saipem does not share the conclusion (of the court)… and will appeal,” a Saipem spokesman told the news wire, adding Varone had originally asked Saipem for €8 million in damages.
Varone’s lawyers said there had been a clear violation of their client’s defence rights.
Varone is one of a number of executives from Saipem under investigation by prosecutors in Italy into allegations that Saipem paid bribes to win a series of contracts in the North African country worth some $11 billion.
Paolo Scaroni – outgoing chief executive of oil major Eni, which owns 43% of Saipem – is also under investigation. The probe is still ongoing and no one has been charged.
Saipem, Scaroni and Varone all deny any wrongdoing.