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Business Europe

Total Italy CEO arrested in corruption probe

Latest update : 2008-12-17

Total Italy CEO Lionel Levha (pictured) has been detained as part of a corruption probe into oil-drilling contracts in southern Italy. Fourteen other suspects were arrested under similar charges.

AFP - The CEO of Total Italy, Lionel Levha of France, was arrested Tuesday as part of a corruption probe involving oil-drilling contracts in southern Italy, the ANSA news agency reported.
  
A total of 15 people are named in the case including a lawmaker from Italy's centre-left Democratic Party, Salvatore Margiotta, ANSA said.
  
Parliament has been asked to authorise investigators to place Margiotta under house arrest, the report said.
  
Jean Paul Juguet, in charge of the Tempa Rossa project in the southern region of Basilicata, is also named in the probe.
  
The accused face charges including criminal association and graft, notably in tender negotiations.
  
The prosecutor in the case is English-born Italian Henry John Woodcock, who became prominent through a string of probes into high-profile scandals.
  
Total signed an agreement with the Basilicata regional authorities in October 2006 to develop the Tempa Rossa oil field in the southern Apennines.
  
Initial production is set for 2010, with peak production of around 50,000 barrels per day, according to the Total website.
  
Total is the operator of the project with 50 percent interest, while the rest is shared by ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Italiana and Shell.
  
The French company has been present in Italy for around 50 years, with stakes in other exploration licenses in the Apennines and a retail network of more than 1,400 service stations, according to the website.

Date created : 2008-12-16

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