The Supreme Court of Cassation has upheld the acquittal of Saipem and Farid Noureddine Bedjaoui of bribery and international corruption charges
MILAN, Italy, Dec. 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Supreme Court of Cassation has upheld the Milan Court of Appeal’s previous judgment acquitting Italian energy company Saipem and businessman Farid Noureddine Bedjaoui of corruption and bribery charges first issued in 2013.
Italian prosecutors accused Saipem of orchestrating an alleged $197m bribe to former Algerian officials in order to secure seven contracts with Sonatrach, and businessman Farid Noureddine Bedjaoui of facilitating the bribe.
In January 2020, the Milan Court of Appeal acquitted both Saipem and Mr Bedjaoui and ordered that the preventative seizure of the proceeds of the alleged crime be returned to Saipem and all the defendants in the prosecution, because the alleged fact of corruption does not exist.
The Court of Cassation’s decision to uphold the Court of Appeal’s judgment ultimately vindicates Mr Bedjaoui of any role in any alleged bribery and highlights the fact that the allegations of the Italian prosecutor about the existence of any corruption in connection with the Saipem contracts in Algeria are groundless and unfounded.
Bedjaoui’s legal counsels Marco Deluca and Guido Carlo Alleva have expressed their “utmost satisfaction” with the judgment, commenting that “The acquittal is explicit and final. It comes after 7 years of extensive investigations, tens of rogatory letters addressed to many countries, and long trials that ended with the establishment of a clear and indisputable fact that no bribe was ever paid by Farid Bedjaoui or Saipem to Minister Chakib Khelil, and that Farid Bedjaoui played the legitimate role of agent and promoter of Saipem.”
Deluca and Alleva stated that “During the course of a very long and complex battle Farid Bedjaoui was required to make many sacrifices, many of which can never be reclaimed or compensated. This decision definitively confirms that the accusations of the Prosecutor’s Office of Milan were groundless and without merit, and at the end justice was well served.”
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Issued by Mr. Marco Deluca and Mr. Guido Alleva, lawyers for Mr. Bedjaoui