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Algeria expects swift progress in Eni-Sonatrach probe

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

ALGIERS, March 8 (Reuters) - Algeria expects its investigation into allegations of corruption involving state energy company Sonatrach and Italy's Eni to progress rapidly once it receives responses to requests for assistance from overseas authorities.

Algiers public proscutor Belkacem Zeghmati launched the probe last month after Milan prosecutors said they were investigating Eni head Paolo Scaroni over alleged bribes paid to win contracts in Algeria for Saipem, in which Eni holds a 43 percent stake.

A statement from Zeghmati late on Thursday said that the magistrate handling the case in Algeria has requested assistance from judicial authorities in Italy, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates to help to gather evidence.

"The examining magistrate has requested approval from Italian judicial authorities to travel to Milan and meet his Italian colleagues in charge of the case," Zeghmati said, adding that he then expects the investigation to move at "a rapid pace".

(Reporting By Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by David Goodman)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130308/algeria-expects-swift-progress-eni-sonatrach-probe