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Algeria probes Eni, Sonatrach allegations

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

ALGIERS, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Algerian judicial authorities are investigating allegations of corruption involving state energy firm Sonatrach and Italy's Eni SpA, the Algiers public prosecutor said.

The announcement of the probe came days after Milan prosecutors said they had put Eni head Paolo Scaroni under investigation in a probe into alleged bribes paid to win contracts in Algeria for Saipem SpA, in which Eni holds a 43 percent stake.

The Algiers court "informs public opinion that the revelations reported by some national and foreign media relate to the investigation that has already been launched by a special court," Algiers public prosecutor Belkacem Zeghmati said in a statement carried on the official APS news agency late on Sunday.

The probe follows reports over the "involvement of Algerian personalities in illegal activities, and more precisely, corruption in conducting business when they were serving within state institutions," he said.

He did not name any official.

Eni said on Thursday prosecutors had searched Scaroni's home and offices in a widening probe centring on eight contracts worth $11 billion won by Saipem, Europe's biggest oil services group, between 2007 and 2009. (Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by David Holmes)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130211/algeria-probes-eni-sonatrach-allegations