September 27, 2019 / 3:35 PM / 20 days ago

'Something has to change at ENI', says Italy deputy minister

FILE PHOTO: Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Italian energy company Eni talks to media at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s deputy industry minister said that “something has to change” at oil and gas group Eni (ENI.MI) after news emerged that the company’s chief executive was under investigation for a conflict-of-interest issue over dealings in the Congo.

Asked on Friday about whether Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi had the backing of the government, Stefano Buffagni said: “In my opinion, something in that company has to change.”

“If there are all these investigations, you can’t say that everything is perfect.”

In a statement late on Thursday Eni said Descalzi had been served notice by Italian prosecutors that he was being probed for not disclosing certain information regarding relations between Eni’s Congo unit and a company called Petroservice.

In the statement Descalzi denied any wrongdoing. He has been at the helm of state-controlled Eni since 2014 and is one of the defendants in a corruption trial in Nigeria over a $1.3 billion purchase of a giant oilfield.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina, writing by Silvia Aloisi, editing by Mark Bendeich

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