A judge in Milan ordered Italian service firm Saipem to stand trial last Friday for alleged bribery in Algeria.

Sources told Reuters that the company will stand trial for allegedly paying bribes to win contracts with Algeria’s Sonatrach.

Three former top Saipem executives and two alleged intermediaries from Algeria will also stand trial on charges of tax fraud and international corruption. 

Eni, Saipem’s parent company, as well as its former chief Paolo Scaroni and its former head of North Africa were cleared of wrongdoing.

“Saipem acknowledges the judge’s decision and is confident that it will be able to demonstrate that there are no grounds for the company to be held liable under Italian Legislative Decree 231/2001 at the first instance trial,” Saipem said.

Prosecutors allege that intermediates working for Saipem paid out about $221.55 million, or 197 million, in bribes to win contracts with   Sonatrach worth about $9 billion.

The alleged corruption took place until the beginning of 2010.

Under Italian law, firms can be held responsible for the actions of their managers and can be subject to fines if found guilty.

The trial is scheduled to begin on December 2.

Former head of Saipem Contracting Algerie Tullio Orsi was sentenced to two years and 10 months in jail and fined $1.3 million in connection with the alleged bribery after accepting a plea deal, Reuters added.

In July, Saipem announced it will cut 8,800 jobs during the next two years after booking about $1 billion in write downs in the second quarter and slashing its annual guidance.


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