Monday, June 19, 2017
Eni: Public Retraction or Criminal Complaint
Chairman of the Board
Rome - Italy
Copy: Dr. Marco Bollini (Chief Legal Officer)
Douglas Linares Flinto, former executive of the Brazilian subsidiary of Eni, and founder & CEO of the Brazilian Business Ethics Institute, by his undersigned attorney, through this correspondence, set out the following for the purpose of making a request to Eni SpA and, if not met, inform all members of the Board of the company about the measures that will be taken in Brazil on account of the incurrence of "Crimes against Honor".
However, it is necessary to review the history and the reasons that motivated the original acts, duly substantiated by extensive documentation, including witness testimony, which confirms that Mr. Flinto has identified unlawful acts practiced by employees of Agip Brazil and that Mr. Flinto acted in accordance with what determines the Code of Ethics of Eni and encourages all its employees to protect the name, image, reputation and equity of company.
In this way, in 2001, in the exercise of his functions at Agip Brazil, Mr. Flinto, after learning about the practice of internal fraud and corruption, and motivated by the words and spirit of the Code of Ethics of Eni, provided the complaint to the internal channels of the Brazilian subsidiary of Eni, about a scheme that diverted millions of dollars from the company's coffers in Brazil.
Fraud and corruption in the Brazilian subsidiary of Eni
The illegal acts, practiced by the employees of Agip Brazil and that were in total non-compliance with Code of Ethics of Eni, are indisputable facts, since the Public Ministry of the State of Mato Grosso, through the 12th Criminal Prosecutor of Cuiabá, reported to the Criminal Judge all the illegal acts. This report described the crimes committed by Agip Brazil’s employees in collusion with owners of gas stations and fuel carriers. These crimes involved fraud, corruption and tax evasion (Doc. 01).
Mr. Flinto is a whistleblower
It is also indisputable the fact that Mr. Flinto is a "whistleblower". It was Mr. Flinto who complied with the determinations of Eni’s Code of Ethics and provided the complaint to the internal channels of Brazil. In "legal documents of public faith", Mr. Aldo Locatelli (Doc. 02), president of SindPetroleo - Union of Gas Stations of Brazil and Mr. Mateus de Campos Martins (Doc. 03), Advisor of Sales of Agip Brazil, confirmed that Mr. Flinto was the one who provided the complaints about the unlawful acts committed in Agip Brazil. Mr. Flinto's behavior was only and exclusively because that was the determination of the Code of Ethics of Eni.
Dismissal in "reprisal"
However, contrary to all expectations as to the consequences of his acts in favor of Eni, as well as of the principles and values present in Eni's Code of Ethics, a few weeks after reporting to the internal channels of Agip Brazil, Mr. Flinto was fired.
1st version of Eni on the dismissal of Mr. Flinto
Because he believed he had suffered the worst reprisal an employee could ever suffer, and again, following the determinations of Eni's Code of Ethics, Mr. Flinto invoked Agip's "Ethics Commission" in Brazil. Days later, the CEO of the Brazilian operation sent a response from his own e-mail to Mr. Flinto (Doc. 04) saying that:
“I received your email of February 1st 2002 and we appreciate your congratulations and observations about the changes we promoted at the Cuiabá Regional.
We find strange, however, your collocations that your dismissal from the company had occurred due to a “breach of trust”. That does not correspond to the reality of the facts. Your dismissal resulted from the administrative and organizational restructuring of the Cuiabá Regional. Being so that your contract was rescinded normally, with no just cause, having Agip even spontaneously maintained benefits after your dismissal, as, for instance, medical assistance extended to you and your dependents.
We find unnecessary your references to Eni’s Code of Ethics, given that such have always been and always will be the master line of all of our actions”.
This was the first version on the dismissal of Mr. Flinto.
What does the Brazilian Labor Court say?
It is important to note that the Brazilian Labor Court affirmed that there was a Code of Ethics, confirmed the occurrence of internal fraud and acts of corruption at Agip Brazil and acknowledged that Mr. Flinto lodged complaints against the internal channels of Eni's Brazilian operation (Doc. 05).
2st version of Eni on the dismissal of Mr. Flinto
In 2010, Eni filed a lawsuit in the Civil Court of Rome against Mr. Flinto and against the Brazilian Business Ethics Institute, demanding a compensation of 15 million Euros. In inicial petition (Doc. 06) Eni says:
“We also point out that from the insights made by Eni, it doesn’t appear that any retaliation was committed, nor a violation of the Law and, much less, the principles of Eni’s Code of Ethics, at the expense of the employee on the part of the former subsidiary Agip Brazil and, especially, on the part of Eni.
On the other hand, it is important to emphasize that Douglas Flinto’s dismissal had full justification in his reticent and not collaborative conduct taken by the employee during the company’s undercover investigations that aimed to reveal potential harmful acts to the company itself, ceasing the trusting relationship”.
This was the second version of Mr. Flinto's dismissal without Eni having submitted one single proof on its charges.
Parallel State: The first investigation against Eni
In March 2016, the story of Mr. Flinto, lived with Eni, was published in the investigative book "Eni: The Parallel State" (Doc. 07) written by journalists Andrea Greco and Giuseppe Oddo. Mr. Greco wrote (Doc. 08) to Mr Flinto that: “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”.
The 3rd version on the dismissal of Mr. Flinto
In April 2017, Mr. Mauro Meggiolaro, as "Critical Shareholder" of Eni (shareholder Fondazione Finanza Etica - Gruppo Banca Etica) took the case of Mr. Flinto to the Eni Shareholder's Meeting held on the 13th of April 2017. Under Italian law, Mr. Meggiolaro wrote 10 (ten) questions about the history of Mr. Flinto (Doc. 09). These questions would have to be answered by the Board of Eni. However, the members of the Board of Directors of the company did not answer to the questions that were individually formulated to them and preferred to respond in a long text (Doc. 10). In this text, once again Eni "invented" a new version on Mr. Flinto's dismissal:
"The former employee was fired together with other actors of unlawful behavior, by reticence, for having violated the obligation of confidentiality and by trying to use instrumentally Eni's Code of Ethics to gain personal advantages of the company".
This was the third version of Mr. Flinto's dismissal without Eni having submitted one single proof on its charges.
With each new version the damage to Mr. Flinto is greater
It is easy to see that in 16 years Eni presented three different versions on Mr. Flinto's dismissal, distorting, at each new version, the facts that originally motivated the complaints lodged by Mr. Flinto. It is also anincontrovertible fact that one version was more false and liar, more harmful and damaging than the other.
In the 1st Version, the company denies the "complaints" made by Mr. Flinto and denies the "retaliation" practiced by Agip Brazil, claiming that it is only a simple and ordinary "administrative and organizational restructuring". In the 2nd Version, Mr. Flinto "did not collaborate" and had a "reticent stance" when Eni carried out "secret investigations" in Brazil. And, surprisingly, in the 3rd Version, he says that Mr. Flinto was criminally involved in the scheme of internal fraud and corruption (which he himself denounced), and that his dismissal occurred along with the other actors of "illegal behavior". In addition, he accused Mr. Flinto of "reticence", of not having preserved "confidentiality" and of being an "opportunistic" person because he had used Eni's Code of Ethics (which he himself fulfilled in full) to build an untrue history with the intention of obtaining financial advantages of Eni.
The 3 versions of Eni try to hide the truth
It is clear that Eni tries to hide the truth from the facts by presenting three different versions on Mr Flinto's dismissal.
Eni's cunning returns against the company itself, as it is more than evident that Eni doesn’t want to admit the truth: that Mr. Flinto was dismissed in "reprisal" after denouncing a million-dollar scheme of corruption in Agip Brazil.
In 16 years Eni does not admit its mistakes
It is to be noted that in all those years Eni doesn’t admit its mistakes in relation to Mr. Flinto. It is undisputed that he: (a) simply complied with the determinations of Eni’s Code of Ethics; (b) that Mr. Flinto was the "whistleblower" who stripped away the dark facts that were happening in the innards of Agip Brazil; (c) that Mr. Flinto denounced a millionaire fraud and corruption scheme at Eni's Brazilian subsidiary, providing the company with the necessary measures to correct such non-conformities with the Code of Ethics and to stop the millionaire deviations in the coffers of Agip Brazil; (d), nor did it finally admit that Mr. Flinto was dismissed in "reprisal" when he should have been protected by the instruments present in Eni's Code of Ethics.
Questions and answers before the Shareholders’ Meeting 2017
Furthermore, on April 13, 2017, Eni began to hurt Mr. Flinto's honor more deeply by presenting a completely fanciful and lying, unfounded and unjust version, cruel and cowardly, and harmful and damaging on the dismissal of Mr. Flinto. Even worse, Eni, when it published the Questions and answers before the Shareholders' Meeting 2017 on its corporate website, on the page dedicated to the company's shareholders and investors, publicly exposes Mr. Flinto, giving him false and liars accusations, with negative reflexes, not only in Italy and Brazil, but in the whole world.
Eni could already be considered responsible for interrupting Mr. Flinto's professional career, since after his dismissal in Brazil (2001), Mr. Flinto was vetoed in the Brazilian labor market and never again was able to get a new executive position. Without a job, for years, he can no longer pay monthly the amounts owed to INSS (Instituto Nacional de Seguridade Social). Today, Mr. Flinto is a man almost entering the third age and no longer has the legal right of the financial values paid by the Brazilian government as "retirement”.
Brazilian Business Ethics Institute
It is also important to note that the third version presented by Eni and published by the company on its corporate website, with flagrantly slanderous and defamatory content, has immensely detrimental potential to the Brazilian Business Ethics Institute, an institution that Mr. Flinto founded in 2003 and which , In all these years, has been promoting the "best practices" of Ethics both in business and especially in the student environment.
How can the founder and CEO of an institution that fosters Business Ethics, which was conceived and created precisely because of the facts he experienced in the case of Eni, be accused of having participated in the crimes he himself denounced? How would it be possible for Mr. Flinto to be an opportunistic person, whose objective is to obtain personal financial advantages, using the Code of Ethics if this was this document that motivated him to denounce the irregularities that he himself identified? Which companies would be comfortable associating their brands with the institution led by Mr. Flinto? To make these accusations we observe that there is no sense of logic, no foundation and no sense at all, if we carefully analyze the facts ascertained and illustrated in the rich documentation already mentioned and made available for consultation.
In fact, Mr. Flinto, in all these years, has been tirelessly and incessantly pursuing, rescuing and restoring his name, his honor, and his reputation that are being denigrated by Eni to this day.
Wounds and Sequels
Eni's attitudes over the past 16 years are causing wounds to Mr. Flinto and will take a long time to heal, leaving sequels and harmful consequences for life. Eni, in addition to not recognizing its mistake, acts in a very unorthodox way, slandering and defaming Mr. Flinto. The reflections of the acts committed by Eni against Mr. Flinto may well be illustrated by two Brazilian jurists:
“The dishonor, the bad fame, pursue someone like an enormous stain, an irreversible stain. The tranquility of their conscience, the inner health of their character, does not count in the always prejudicial judgment of the surrounding world. The stain of injury and defamation is what stands out most prominently before all in a judgment of obliquity and whispers that never ends”;
“A wounded person by dishonor, their reputation depreciated, mistaken for the null character, the moral indigents, even the triumphant ones, also rises, but, with more difficulty. While there remain in the collective memory those doubts sown by offense, will always be diminished, as if a piece was missing, some portion of an inseparable value of their personality, their honor”.
For all of the above reasons, Mr. Flinto uses the present correspondence so Eni makes a PUBLIC RETRACTION, within a period of 15 (fifteen) days, counted from the receipt of this correspondence. This retraction should be made on the company's corporate website and also on the major news portals in both Italy and Brazil to undo slanderous and defamatory behavior against Mr. Flinto.
However, if Eni SpA do not do the mentioned Public Retraction, we inform that a "Criminal Complaint" will be made in Brazil against each of the people who are members of the Board of Directors of the company due to the practice of crimes against the honor of Mr. Flinto.