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BG says fully cooperating with Italian authorities on bribe probe

BG says fully cooperating with Italian authorities on bribe probe

LONDON (AFX) – BG Group PLC said it is fully cooperating with the Italian authorities on the ongoing corruption investigation that involves key former and current officials in charge of the company’s 500 mln eur Brindisi gas project.

‘The investigation is still going on and no official charges have been brought (against anyone),’ a BG spokesman said.

‘We are fully cooperating with the authorities. We don’t tolerate corruption in any shape or form within the group,’ he stressed.

BG is working on the release of Franco Fazio, chairman of BG Italia and former chief executive of BG’s Brindisi LNG unit, who was arrested last week as part of the probe.

Two former managers of BG Italia, including Fabio Fontana and Yvonne Barton, were put under house arrest. Fontana left the company in 1999 and Barton in 2002.

The investigation stems from an alleged bribe of 360 mln lire paid in 1999 to allow the construction of a 8-bln-cubic-metre liquefied natural gas terminal in the Italian port of Brindisi to proceed.

BG is still keeping the target 2010 start-up timetable for the project, which faced fierce opposition from environmentalists.

It has so far invested around 200 mln eur in the project and reclaimed 80 pct of the land it needs for the terminal.

monicca.egoy@thomson.com

mbe/jr

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