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Eni S.p.A accuses Nigeria, US litigation funder of lack of transparency

Eni S.p.A accuses both Nigeria and US investment firm of lack of transparency in its in a long-running dispute over a 2011 transaction.



Eni S.p.A has accused both Nigeria and US investment firm assisting the country with its litigation against the Italian oil giant and Royal Dutch Shell of lack of transparency in the $1.1 billion energy deal.

The Italian oil firm is seeking documents from the US investment firm helping Nigeria in the criminal corruption trial.

Eni S.p.A claim that undisclosed interests are driving the Nigerian government’s litigation strategy at the expense of Eni’s contractual rights and the national interest of Nigeria. The Italian oil company wants permission to subpoena information from the investment firm, Drumcliffe Partners LLC to help it file its defense in the corruption trial in Milan, which Nigeria has joined as a civil party.

This is the latest episode in a long-running dispute over a 2011 transaction, which set Nigeria against the 2 oil companies. The bribery case revolves around the purchase of OPL 245 offshore field, some 150 km off the Niger Delta, for about $1.3 billion from Malabu, a company owned by former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete.

Eni, in a memorandum filed in a US district court in Wilmington, Delaware, on October 6, said that Nigeria’s government initially supported Eni’s plans for developing its offshore permit known as Oil Prospecting License 245, but subsequently elected to wage a “multi-jurisdictional litigation campaign” against the company.

The Italian oil firm said it now has reasons to believe Nigeria’s actions are driven by third parties seeking to earn illicit profits and has applied for authorization to request that seven Delaware-registered Drumcliffe companies produce documents on the arrangements they set up for Nigeria’s OPL 245 litigation.

Drumcliffe’s Principal, Jim Little said, “We look forward to discrediting Eni’s conspiracy theories and wild innuendos. The application to the court is entirely baseless.’’

Shell and Eni have been on trial in Milan since 2018. Italian prosecutors say the companies obtained the permit 9 years ago by paying almost $1.1 billion into an escrow account for the Nigerian government. Prosecutors allege that most of those funds were siphoned off to politicians and middlemen with a huge part of it going to Etete himself.


It was reported that the Nigerian government, through its lawyer, Lucio Mucia, at a hearing into the alleged corruption linked to Eni and Shell’s acquisition of OPL 245, called for a guilty verdict and an advance payment of about $1.1 billion for damages in one of the oil industry’s biggest-ever corruption trials.

Eni and Shell have, however, denied any wrongdoing and say they acquired OPL 245 through legitimate agreements with the Nigerian government, which required settling Malabu’s outstanding claim to the block.

To litigate its OPL 245-related claims, Nigeria retained the Lagos-based law firm Johnson & Johnson, which then entered into a funding agreement with Drumcliffe, Eni said.

According to a memorandum from Eni, a Nigerian media outlet in August published what it said was the contract between the law firm and Drumcliffe. Certain clauses of the opaque and ambiguous deal indicated that the litigation funder could be entitled to as much as 35% of the funds recovered by the government or nearly $400 million in the case of the Milan trial.

Eni said it requires information from Drumcliffe to better understand the funding arrangement. Also, that the allegation that Drumcliffe may have financed a billion-dollar lawsuit against Eni, in exchange for an enormous and disproportionate economic return deserves clear answers, a spokesman for the Italian company said.

However, Drumcliffe and Johnson & Johnson deny allegations that the U.S. firm stands to collect a sizable portion of what the Nigerian government manages to recoup, and describes reports of such potential returns as false and sensational.

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FG launches application for N75 billion Youth Investment Fund at 5% interest, how to apply

FG has flagged off the application for the N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund.



The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, on Thursday, October 15, 2020, flagged off the application for the N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) recently approved by the Federal Government.

During the launch of the application, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said that the NYIF underscored the importance placed on youths by the current administration.

The Minister said that the fund, which is an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and funded by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), would be spread over 3 years to cater to youth-owned businesses and investment needs.

Sunday Dare stated, “I must mention the support we enjoyed from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which in line with the President’s directive, provided the initial N12.5 billion required for the Fund to operate in the remaining part of the year 2020.

“We are also grateful that the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has on its part, committed to providing the next tranche of the fund in the 2021 budget.’

The Minister said that the loan, provided under the NYIF, has an interest rate of 5% per annum and a tenor of 5 years with a moratorium of up to 12 months.

He explained that any youth who wished to apply as an individual or a non-registered business could draw up to N250,000, while youth-owned registered businesses could apply for up to N3 million.

Going further, he said, “Our commitment to seeing the youth succeed is such that the loan is bundled with training that will ensure business sustainability for successful applicants.

“It is my belief that the fund will grow to become a permanent feature of our society, where beneficiaries run successful businesses and repay the loans.”

The Minister said that application is available on the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund Application Portal on NIRSAL Microfinance Bank’s site,; and the ministry’s website,

Applicants are expected to provide their Names, Email address, and Website (if available).

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US Tennis player Sam Querrey accused of fleeing Russia on private jet after testing positive for COVID-19



33 year old US tennis player Sam Querrey, has been accused of fleeing Russia on a private jet after he and his family tested positive for Covid-19.

Querrey and his wife had tested positive for the virus ahead of the St. Petersburg Open this week and were placed in quarantine at a  hotel, according to the tournament organizers.

Doctors had recommended Querrey and his family be moved to a private apartment but he did not allegedly answer the door when doctors were dispatched to evaluate his condition.

“Sam Querrey was scheduled to retest on Thursday, October 15, however, instead of acting in accordance with ATP rules and the tournament’s sanitary protocol, Sam Querrey was recorded leaving the hotel by hotel security cameras at 5.45 a.m. on October 13, with his family, without notifying the reception,”

“As Querrey told the ATP representative, he and his family left Russia on a private plane.” read a statement from organizers.

The ATP which is the World tennis controlling body, said it was aware of an incident “regarding a player’s serious breach of protocol”

Querrey has not won a grand slam singles title in his career but is ranked world number 47.

Querrey has not responded to the allegations as at press time.

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WHO study reveals new discovery about remdesivir drug’s effect on Covid-19 patients

The study found that the regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the length of the in-hospital course.



A World Health Organization (WHO) study has discovered that Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir had little or no effect on COVID-19 patients’ length of stay in the hospital or chances of survival.

The only antiviral drug authorized for treatments of Covid-19 in the US failed to prevent deaths among patients.

The antiviral medication, among the first to be used as a treatment for COVID-19, was one of the drugs recently used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection.

The results are from WHO’s Solidarity trial, which evaluated the effects of 4 potential drug regimens, including remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon, in 11,266 adult patients across more than 30 countries.

The study found that the regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the length of the in-hospital course among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the WHO said on Thursday.

The results of the trial, which were posted online on Thursday, October 15, 2020, are yet to be peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal

Earlier this month, data from a U.S. study of remdesivir by Gilead showed that the treatment cut COVID-19 recovery time by five days compared with patients who got a placebo in a trial comprising 1,062 patients.

Gilead told Reuters, “The emerging (WHO) data appears inconsistent, with more robust evidence from multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals validating the clinical benefit of remdesivir.

“We are concerned the data from this open-label global trial has not undergone the rigorous review required to allow for constructive scientific discussion, particularly given the limitations of the trial design.”

Remdesivir, which was originally developed as a treatment for Ebola and Hepatitis C, interferes with the reproduction of viruses by jamming itself into new viral genes.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Wednesday that during the study, hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir were stopped in June after they proved ineffective, but other trials continued in more than 500 hospitals and 30 countries.

Swaminathan said, “We’re looking at what’s next. We’re looking at monoclonal anti-bodies, we’re looking at immunomodulators and some of the newer anti-viral drugs that have been developed in the last few months.”

Remdesivir received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 1, and has since been authorized for use in several countries.

Gilead, however, disputed the conclusions of the W.H.O. study on Thursday, noting that a variety of drugs and drug combinations had been evaluated under a wide range of circumstances and that more rigorous studies had found a benefit.

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