Monday, November 27, 2017

Ask Eni: is Ethics a Value for companies?

The answer will be “no” if we look at my story. In 2001, after learning about a millionaire scheme of internal fraud and corruption at Agip Brazil – controlled by an oil giant and one of the largest companies in the world, the Italian Eni – and following the guidelines contained in the words and spirit of the Code of Ethics, I denounced it to the internal channels of the company. However, contradicting the “best practices” of "Compliance" and "Corporate Governance", thirty days later I was fired. Today, Eni is suing me for "slander" and "defamation", at the Civil Court of Rome, and is demanding an indemnity of 15 million EuroThe whistleblower was turned into a villain! For this company Ethics is not a Value!!!
The answer will be “no” if we look at the results of the "LavaJato Operation" that, for over three years, has been stripping promiscuity between the public and the private. Every new operation, with each new revelation, it is proven that Ethics is not a Value for many companies which, aiming only for profit, steal precious resources from the Brazilian society that lives a nightmare when it comes to healthy, education and security.
The answer will also be “no” if we take as an example the companies that, year after year, subscribe project at the "Business Ethics Awards" and, at the last minute, they run counter to the rules of the game and cease to participate in this recognition not caring at all if they are putting at risk the credibility and the reputation of the Brazilian Business Ethics Institute. Besides that, they end up botching our traditional initiative, and what is worst, it is as if they are making a rude gesture to the other participating companies. For those companies Ethics is not a Value!
But, fortunately, Ethics is a Value for a significant portion of the companies! And with the new corporate wave of Compliance, many others have been following the virtuous and victorious steps of those that have already noticed that Business Ethics is a path with no return! Now, the corporate values are influencing, including, the values of the human capital of these companies. And it couldn’t be any different! Companies are not living things, it is their collaborators, from the attendant to the president, that give life to the corporations!
Indeed, Brazil lives a unique moment! The page of Gerson’s Law, of impunity and lack of integrity is being turned and a new history is being written in our nation. And you can be sure that the “Ethical Companies” are helping this noble, commendable and exemplary task that will, without a doubt, make our grandchildren live in a country more just, honest, whole and Ethical!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Eni & Me: a 16 years fight!

My story with the Italian giant and one of the largest companies of the planet began back in 2001 when I was an executive at Eni's Brazilian subsidiary and temporarily took over the main sales management of Agip Brazil. There, I received complaints of irregularities involving conflicts of interests, internal corruption, fraud, and even emission of "cold invoices". Respecting the determinations of Eni's Code of Ethics, I reported the misconducts and nonconformities with the words and spirit of the code, that as the company declares, is the guideline for all the six-legged dog's actions.
On the following weeks, little happened and I ended up getting fired. After invoking Agip Brazil's Committee of Ethics, I got an answer from the Brazilian operation saying that my resignation happened due to an "administrative and organizational restructuring" and not because of a "retaliation", as I stated. This was the first version about my dismissal.
It was evident that the millionaire scheme that I had reported had metastasized throughout the company, and in Agip Brazil's backstage, the top management, in collusion, ran the illegalities and illegal activities practiced in Eni's Brazilian subsidiary.
So I decided to write to the Board and to the company's main shareholders, including to the main one, the Italian Government. The PwC, which at that time was the auditing firm hired by Eni, also received a copy of the new corresponding item. It's the Board of Directors the highest authority inside and outside the company walls, the embodiment of the "Corporate Governance" and the "Big Boss" of all the executives, including the CEO. Besides, the Board is responsible for ensuring the Code of Ethics. Above all, it is the "Guardian of Ethics"!
The resignations at Agip Brazil continued until it reached the commercial management. A few months later, Eni announced to the market the sale of all the Brazilian assets to the state oil company Petrobras, currently involved in the largest corruption scandal in Brazil. However, no contact was ever made with me, and Eni never answered any of my mails! On the contrary, after killing the "whistleblower" in Brazil, the company tried to do the same thing in Italy!
In 2010, Eni decided to file a civil lawsuit in the Court of Rome against me and the Brazilian Business Ethics Institute - an institution I founded in 2003 to promote Ethics in the business and student world - demanding an indemnity of 15 million Euros for damage caused by my libel or slander. (This intimidating attitude, to try to silence its opponents, is in Eni's DNA. In 2013, an investigative reporter from Italian TV RAI, Ms. Milena Gabanelli, showed the company's corrupt management in her TV Program: REPORT. The result: Eni opened a lawsuit of 25 million Euro for slander and defamation. However, a colleague from her profession, made an electronic petition at, in defense of the journalist, and obtained over 150 thousands of signatures. Eni changed its mind and ended the lawsuit).

In this action, oddly enough, Eni states that all the facts alleged by me are untrue and that, in fact, the company made an undercover investigation in Brazil to ascertain any damage. And I, for not collaborating, ceased the trusting relationship, resulting in my dismissal. This was the second version presented by Eni about my dismissal without the company having submitted one single proof on its charges.
Instead of Eni accepting its mistakes, ascertain its faults, enhance controls and honor its own Code of Ethics, the company chose to hide behind a "frivolous lawsuit" in an attempt to intimidate and silence me, and leave under the carpet the ills of its managements.
Fortunately, in late 2014, the judge ruled "groundless" Eni's lawsuit. The company didn't accept my proposal agreement, but preferred appeal the sentence.
I became a victim of my own report! Eni destroyed my professional career when it put me on the "black list" of all the companies operating in my country. And there's more! Eni is also responsible for the loss of my retirement.
Despite everything, I will continue, until my last breath, with my personal quest to rescue and restore my name, my honor, my image and my reputation unfairly depreciated by the six-legged dog.
In March 2016, my story against the Italian giant Eni was published in an investigative book written by two Italian journalists (Mr. Andrea Greco and Mr. Giuseppe Oddo): The Parallel State: The first investigation on the Eni. Mr. Greco wrote me 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”.
In January 2017, the "Ethical Boardroom Magazine" published my article: "Whistleblower a hero, a villain or a fool?". For me, doing the right thing... Acting ethically and with integrity... Makes our life worth living! I'm making my life worth living! (Watch my video about the subject: Make my life worth living!).
And in April 2017, Mr. Mauro Meggiolaro (Eni’s Critical Shareholder of the Fondazione Finanza Etica - Gruppo Banca Etica) took my case to Eni Shareholder's Meeting. Yes, I am the first whistleblower in the world to be represented at a Shareholder's Meeting! Under Italian law, Mr. Meggiolaro wrote 10 (ten) questions about my story. 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. In this text, once again Eni "made up" a new version on my 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 my dismissal without Eni having submitted one single proof on its charges. This type of attitude is part of the character of the company! Just look at the OPL 245 case in Nigeria! Shell has already admitted illegal and unethical acts in the acquisition of OPL 245 and Eni’s Board of Directors continues to deny the irregularities.
It is easy to see that in 16 years Eni presented three different versions on my dismissal, distorting, at each new version, the facts that originally motivated the complaints lodged by me. It is also unincontrovertible 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 me and denies the "retaliation" practiced by Agip Brazil, claiming that it was only a simple and ordinary "administrative and organizational restructuring". In the 2nd Version, I "did not collaborate" and had a "reticent stance" when Eni carried out "secret investigations" in Brazil. And, surprisingly, in the 3rd Version, the company says that I was criminally involved in the scheme of internal fraud and corruption (which I denounced), and that my dismissal occurred along with other actors of "illegal behavior". In addition, Eni accused me of "reticence", of not having preserved "confidentiality" and of being an "opportunistic" person because I had used Eni's Code of Ethics (which I fulfilled in full) to build an untrue story with the intention of obtaining financial advantages of Eni. The company cunning returns against the company itself, as it is more than evident that Eni doesn’t want to admit the truth: that I was dismissed in "reprisal" after denouncing a million-dollar scheme of corruption in Agip Brazil.
It is to be noted that in all those years Eni doesn’t admit its mistakes towards me. It is undisputed that I: (a) simply complied with the determinations of Eni’s Code of Ethics; (b) that I was the "whistleblower" who stripped away the dark facts that were happening in the innards of Agip Brazil; (c) that I 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 I was dismissed in "reprisal" when he should have been protected by the instruments present in Eni's Code of Ethics.
Eni's attitudes over the past 16 years are causing wounds to me 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 me. The reflections of the acts committed by Eni against me 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”.
But, my fight against a giant continues! I make Malala Yousafzai’s words my own: “I tell my story not because it is unique but because it is not” and "I hope my story can be served as an example, motivation and inspiration to other whistleblowers who are being silenced and their careers and reputations buried around the world by companies that don’t respect their codes of ethics, by employees and executives who steal corporate coffers and the board that pretends nothing happens".

Now, a whistleblower will take Eni to the Court of Rome! Wait for news!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Eni has its hands tied!

From now on, the Italian oil giant Eni has its hands tied and will no longer be able to kill its whistleblower like it trie to do with me from 2001 to the present day!

The Italian parliamentarians approved the "Protection to the Whistleblower Law"! 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Please thank the Italian oil giant for such an atrocity!!!

Babies in Nigeria are twice as likely to die in the first month of life if their mothers were living near an oil spill before falling pregnant, researchers have found.

A new study, the first to link environmental pollution with newborn and child mortality rates in the Niger Delta, shows that oil spills occurring within 10km of a mother’s place of residence doubled neonatal mortality rates and impaired the health of her surviving children.

Crucially, oil spills that occurred while the mother was still pregnant had no effect on child or neonatal mortality. But even spills that happened five years before conception doubled the neonatal mortality rate from 38 deaths to 76 deaths for every 1,000 births, the data found.

“The results from the study are absolutely shocking,” said Roland Hodler, an economics professor from the University of St Gallen in Switzerland, who led the study. “I didn’t expect to see this effect on pre-conception. Why we don’t find a stronger effect [on the foetus] during the pregnancy is not entirely clear – maybe it is due to the cumulative contamination of crude oil in the water and soil, which increases over time. But that doesn’t explain the entire effect.

“This is a tragedy. Even four to five years prior to conception, an oil spill still matters. I think this should be seen as a first-world problem for something to be done.”

Regular, uncontrolled spills have been a prominent feature of Nigeria’s oil industry – the nation’s primary source of GDP – since crude was discovered there more than 60 years ago. An estimated 240,000 barrels of crude oil are spilled in the Niger Delta every year, polluting waterways, contaminating crops, and releasing toxic chemicals into the air.

A 2011 report by the UN Environment Programme estimated that, after decades of repeated oil spills in Ogoniland, it would take 30 years to reverse damage to public health and the regional ecosystem.

Unborn and newborn infants are most vulnerable to oil-related pollution because they have not yet developed basic defences such as the blood-brain barrier, which helps protect against toxic chemicals, the study found. Even small doses of pollution are likely to be large in comparison to an infant’s body weight, while mothers who ingest poisoned food or contaminated water are also at greater risk of maternal malnutrition and sickness, potentially increasing infant mortality risks, said the researchers.

By pairing georeferenced data from the Nigerian Oil Spill Monitor – which recorded the location of more than 6,600 spills between 2005 and 2015 – with the 2013 national demographic and health survey, Hodler and his colleague Anna Bruederle were able to map oil spill locations in relation to neonatal and child mortality rates among the surrounding populations. The result was an analysis of roughly 5,040 children born to 2,700 mothers in 130 clusters, all within 10km of the closest oil spill.

The researchers then compared siblings’ health histories, contrasting the mortality rates of infants conceived or born before the first nearby oil spill with those conceived or born subsequently.

The data proved that neonatal mortality was higher the closer the oil spill was to the mother’s location, and that any oil spills prior to conception increased the incidence of low weight-for-height, notably in the first year of life.

The Nigerian government did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Activists have called the findings “disturbing and disheartening”.

“It is shocking to consider how many children may have died in the past 50 years – since oil exploration started in Nigeria’s Niger Delta – as a direct result of regular and uncontrolled oil spills,” said Debbie Ariyo of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, a charity that supports the rights and welfare of African children.

“The ongoing environmental damage means that more children are exposed to harmful chemicals in polluted drinking water, air and food produce. Simply put, as long as the oil spills continue unabated and clean up of the region is delayed, then unfortunately more children will be harmfully impacted.”

Additional reporting by Emmanuel Akinwotu

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

And now Eni? Protection to the Whistleblower Law!

And now Eni? After approving the "Protection to the Whistleblower Law" by the Chamber of Deputies of Italy, the Italian oil giant can't kill anymore its whistleblowers like it tries to do with me!