Thursday, November 28, 2019
New Open Letter to Eni's Board
My name is Douglas Linares Flinto. I’m Chairman & CEO of the Brazilian Business Ethics Institute. I’m a Whistleblower! I’m a Eni’s Whistleblower! Since 2001, I try to rescue and restore my name, my honor and my reputation unfairly depreciated by the Italian oil giant until this day!
My story is “unique” in the business world! In 2016, my story was published in the first "investigative book" on the corruption acts of the Italian oil giant and this book was titled Eni: The Parallel State, and was written by two renowned Italian journalists (Mr. Andrea Greco and Mr. Giuseppe Oddo). In 2017 and 2018, another Italian journalist (Mr. Mauro Meggiolaro), in the quality of “Critical Shareholder of Eni”, took my case to Eni’s Shareholder’s Meeting. And October 2019, Eni suffered another defeat! The Court of Appeal of Rome judges upheld the lower court ruling confirming that Eni’s lawsuit against me is “unfounded” (This lawsuit requested an indemnity of 15 million Euros). Now it's my turn to sue you for slander and defamation and claim compensation for all the damage I've suffered in these 18 long years!
But, there are many unanswered questions! Eni's Board needs to answer the this questions:
Introduction Question 01: Agip of Brazil's "top tier" was absolutely uncomfortable when I, fulfilling the words and spirit of the company's Code of Ethics, reported the millionaire "scheme" of internal frauds and acts of corruption when I was in charge of Regional Sales Management - Cuiabá (RSM-Cuiabá), the most important of all RSMs in the country.
If not, why would I be fired? What are the reasons for a company that boasts that the Code of Ethics is the "guiding principle" of all its actions, and instead of protecting the whistleblower, it ends up firing him?
It is unquestionable that the "internal audit" carried out at RSM-Cuiabá – after my complaint – was "fraudulent", because it didn’t fulfill its role! If I, who am not an auditor, were able to construct a "dossier" with more than 200 pages proving the "frauds" existing in this regional sales, how come the auditors of Agip of Brazil didn’t identify them?
Now, in what way, was Eni able to state – in an official company document and available on the corporate website – the reason for my resignation? Where is the "report" of the "investigations" that, according to Eni, was carried out in 2002 after receiving my correspondence? What does this document say? Did the company's auditors identify the internal frauds and acts of corruption that I had reported? Did they prove the illicit enrichment of the RSM-Cuiabá? Did they find his property incompatible with his annual income? Did they discover his tank trucks, whose partner was the city of RSM-Paulínia, who was also his “brother-in-law”? Did they demonstrate in this document the two “company owned gas stations” of the RSM-Cuiabá operated by "straw men"? Did the owners of the gas stations point out they received "fictitious" funding? Did they discover the "cold invoices" that were taken from the Distribution Base of Agip of Brazil in Cuiabá, by Criminal Prosecutors, and sent to the “Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry” (Fuels PCI)? Did they know that the RSM-Rio de Janeiro – who was in the RSM-Cuiabá while the "internal audit" was being conducted – was the “cousin” of the RSM-Cuiabá? Did they confirm that the RSM-São Paulo was the son of the CEO of multinational company of the automotive sector that "sponsored" the son of the Commercial Director of Agip of Brazil to participate in motor racing?
If all these facts – which prove "conflicts of interest", "fraud", "corruption" and "gang formation" to plunder the company’s coffers – had been pointed out in the report of the internal audit signed by Agip of Brazil’s General Manager of Internal Audit, the first attitude of the company would be the resignation of the Regional Sales Manager of Cuiabá and of all his associates (subordinates, peers and superiors). But history shows that this is not what happened! The first to be fired was the one who shouldn’t have been fired: the “whistleblower” who complied with the company's Code of Ethics.
It is obvious that the Regional Sales Manager of Cuiabá was only dismissed after I presented my "dossier" to Agip of Brazil’s HR Director when I left the company! The others involved in the commercial area were only dismissed after the company sent my "faithful squire" to my house, after my resignation, to get a copy of my "dossier". And RSM-Cuiabá’s operational area was only dismissed after I alerted the company's Board of Directors when I invoked the Ethics Committee in Brazil. It has also been proven that other Regional Sales Managers have only been dismissed after I sent a correspondence to the Board of the former parent company of Agip of Brazil, in Italy. And then, the Commercial Director himself was investigated and it was verified that he received "bribes" from the equipment suppliers for the "New Image" when the flags were exchanged, from Cia. São Paulo Petróleo to Agip. And because of that, he was fired even before Petrobras bought the assets of Agip of Brazil!
I have no doubt that Agip of Brazil’s General Manager of Internal Audit – who, in all these years, have been performing a similar function at Liquigás (controlled by Petrobras since 2004) – had no direct or indirect participation in the frauds that I reported. He has not benefited financially. I firmly believe that Mr. Marco Antonio Pinto is not a man with deviations of character! He only fulfilled the "orders" of the Commercial Director that had, including, the endorsement of the company’s CEO in Brazil. Why? For fear of having the same fate as mine!
The consequence of a "fraudulent internal audit" – which was the trigger for discarding the intrusive and inconvenient whistleblower – and, after my dismissal, moment at which my "dossier" appeared, and all the other complaints made in Brazil and Italy, the company had to "take action" and "clean up" what should have been cleaned up in my initial complaint in mid- 2001! This time, it was necessary to elaborate a "new plot" for me - verified in the “2nd and 3rd VERSIONS” about my dismissal!
QUESTION 01: When Eni conducted "investigations" on my case – after receiving my letter in 2002 – did the company contact its Agip of Brazil executives and requested information about me? Or was there an executive from the Italian headquarters who came to Brazil to carry out these investigations? In what facts and evidence, document and proofs, was the company founded to state the reasons for my resignation, demonstrated in the 2nd and 3rd Versions? Why has Eni stated that my case was published in "Eni 2002 Financial Statements" if there is nothing about me in this official company document?
Introduction Question 02: In March 2016, the year in which my "ethical clash” would complete 15 years old, two renowned Italian journalists (Mr. Andrea Greco and Mr. Giuseppe Oddo), after almost five years of research, published the first "investigative book" that tells the problems in Eni’s management in the last 25 years. The work, titled “Eni: The Parallel State" (Doc. 12), in a few months, would become a “best-seller” in Italy.
The only Brazilian story published in this book was mine (Doc. 13).
The authors made more than two dozen presentations about the book throughout Italy and there was never any kind of questioning from Eni, much less some lawsuit on the grounds of slander or defamation.
One time I asked Mr. Greco why my story had been published in his work. He answered me the following:
“The authors decided to include your story because, after reading most of the documents you sent and talking with their sources, they convinced themselves that the story had roots, and that was right and interesting to include it in the context of “Stato parallelo” (Doc. 14).
QUESTION 02: : If two journalists conducted "researches" and "investigations” into my story lived with Eni in order to publish it in an "investigative book", this means that the version I submitted about my resignation in this document is the true version? And, why does Eni still disagree with this version and even presented an "untruthful" version of my resignation without any evidence or proofs?
Introduction Question 03: Another Italian journalist, Mr. Mauro Meggiolaro, as "Critical Shareholder", representing the "Fondazione Finanza Etica - Gruppo Banca Etica", took my case to Eni’s AGM in the years 2017 and 2018 .
At Eni's AGM 2017, Mr Meggiolaro added, to his own questions, ten questions on my case (Doc. 15). And at Eni's AGM 2018, Mr. Meggiolaro preferred to use the microphone and talk to all present shareholders. It is worth transcribing what was said about me and what is "eternalized" in the Minutes of the Shareholders' Meeting (Doc. 16):
“We have been contacted again by Douglas Linares Flinto, a former manager of the Eni group in Brazil. Since we know that there are legal problems under way with Eni – a couple of years ago we asked a number of questions at the Shareholders’ Meeting on his behalf, with a view to acting as mediators between Douglas Linares Flinto and the Company to try and settle this conflict. I suggest that we organize a meeting with you: we would like to try to solve the issue, if you agree to have a meeting (he wanted to be here but could not come). If we can meet and overcome the emotional side of the affair, which is sometimes a bit strong, and we can instead talk about concrete facts, we would be happy to do so”.
But, unfortunately, until now, the meeting suggested by this "Critical Shareholder" has not been scheduled.
QUESTION 03: This is yet another proof that what I say is the "true truth"! Eni, if not, what are the reasons for a journalist and "Critical Shareholder" of one of the largest companies on the planet to take my case to the Shareholders' Meeting two times and, moreover, to be a "mediator"?
QUESTION 04: In 2010, when Eni filed a "lawsuit" against me and against the Brazilian Business Ethics Institute, demanding a compensation of 15 million Euros, the company took notice of all the "facts" and "evidence" that are reported in this document. Even knowing that I was speaking the "truth", why did Eni present the 3rd VERSION on my resignation – in 2017 – when it answered my questions from the company's "Critical Shareholder", Mr. Mauro Meggiolaro?
QUESTION 05: What are the reasons why Eni has never conducted an "independent investigation" on my case based on the facts reported here and the evidence and proofs presented here, which have been known by the company for many years?
QUESTION 06: Is it possible for Eni to carry out this "independent investigation" with Mr. Mauro Meggiolaro, "Critical Shareholder" of the company, that at AGM 2018 was willing to be the "mediator" between me and Eni, as the "observer”? If no, explain why.
QUESTION 07: If, after this "independent investigation", Eni finds that there have been misconceptions on the part of Agip of Brazil (and also Eni itself), will the company acknowledge its mistakes against me so that, after those 18 long years, I can, finally, be able to rescue and restore my name, my honor, and my reputation that were unjustly depreciated?
1) Check out in Doc. 11, the detailing of the facts and the dozens and dozens of proofs that, in all these almost 18 years, I have always spoken the "true truth"!
2) Check out in Doc. A, the Final Document - Eni's AGM 2019 - News Questions - Douglas Linares Flinto