The Court of Appeal of the Algiers District Court informed the Italian energy company Saipem of the reopening of the file of the JK3 project, or Sonatrach 1, by reconsidering all the judgments handed down in a previous hearing by the Criminal Court of the Algiers District Court on 2 February 2016.
In a statement issued by the Italian company, of which “Echorouk” received a copy and published by the Algerian Court, the Algerian branch of “Saipem Contracting Algeria” received a decision on Wednesday stating that the Algerian Court of Cassation completely rejected what was issued by the Criminal Court of Algiers Project “JK3”, which is sufficient reason to make the Court of Appeal in Algeria deal with the case through a new trial in full.
According to the statement, the sentences imposed on Saipem on February 2, 2016 remained suspended due to an appeal against those judgments filed by the Italian company before the Court of Cassation and the Prosecution Office.
This decision means that the Sonatrach 1 file has been reopened through new investigations and trials. It also means that the judgments against Saipem are still pending, notably a fine of 30,000 Euros and a decision to lift the freeze on two bank accounts of the Italian company in Algeria with an amount of 71 million Euros (about 1,000 billion centimes in national currency DA).
The statement said that the motives of the decision taken Wednesday by the Court of Appeal of Algeria is not available yet, and is expected to be formally released in September.
The Italian company had reached a friendly solution to its differences with Sonatrach in February 2018, when an agreement was signed to end disputes over 4 oil and gas projects, with the payment of the Italian party a financial compensation estimated between 150 and 200 million Dollars.
A few months ago, Saipem’s CEO Mr. Stefano Cao underscored that the Saipem energy firm had officially returned to Algeria and would participate in the available tenders announced by the Algerian authorities, considering that the issue of corruption experienced by the company years ago has become now a thing of the past.