Milan court, Italy, is due to hear the sentences against the accused in Sonatrach-Eni-Saipem case on Wednesday after more than two and a half years of hearings, and after seven and a half years since the case broke out.
In the context, the information, which is in possession of Echorouk show that the court has finished hearing the defense of the eight defendants in the case, whether by the Italian or Algerian party, and last week the public prosecutor gave his response to the defense of the accused.
According to the same source, the general prosecutor, Isidoro Palma, responded during the last hearing on the defendants’ defense before the sentences were heard last week, and asked the court and the audience how did Farid Bedjaoui could collect tons of money estimated at 200 million euros if he neither had a simple office nor assistants.
The general prosecutor said in a voice recording of the latest hearing, which copy is available to Echorouk, that Farid Bedjaoui received the funds through his company “Pearl Partners” which is actually an empty box, which has no staff or offices, but is a virtual company headquartered in Hong Kong and a virtual office in Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, and that was interned at GSI-LO” law office.
The general prosecutor also asked how did Farid Bedjaoui, who was a secretary to the Minister Chakib Khelil, would advise Saipem, since he did not have a single assistant and no consulting office, and since he does not understand anything about the oil and gas sector because of his training in the general economy.
General Prosecutor, Isidoro Palma noted that Saipem won the deals, which are under investigation, was the result of the fact that Mr. Bedjaoui was backed by the former Energy Minister, Chakib Khalil, so, according to him, investigators should always return to the starting point of the charge, which is that Sonatrach granted the deals to Saipem because they were part of the promise package that were granted by the minister to Saipem.
The case broke out at the Italian side in February 2011, which marked the start of the Milan court proceedings officially, which means that the case lasted more than seven and a half years, while the trial also lasted more than two and a half years, as they started in January, 26, 2016, and they are expected to continue for other months, on the grounds that the defendants will almost certainly, challenge the provisions that will be announced on Wednesday.