Home » Nigerian oil tycoon Omamofe Boyo could go on trial in Milan over alleged fraudulent tanker deal

Nigerian oil tycoon Omamofe Boyo could go on trial in Milan over alleged fraudulent tanker deal

by Yusuf Abdulfatai
Omamofe Boyo

Milan prosecutors have urged that Omamofe Boyo, former chief of Oando Trading and current deputy CEO of Oando, alongside other key figures, faces trial over allegations of defrauding Eni (ENI.MI) in a 2019 oil deal, according to documents from the Milan prosecutor’s office.

According to a report by Reuters, the contentious “White Moon” crude oil consignment in 2019 caused significant concern within Eni due to suspicions that the oil might have Iranian origins, at least in part. Given the sanctions reinstated by the United States in 2018 following the U.S. departure from a nuclear pact with Iran, dealing with Iranian oil would have been a significant violation.

The oil cargo, which Eni ultimately declined, is claimed to have been acquired from the Nigerian company, Oando. Oando, on the other hand, reportedly bought the oil from Napag’s London branch, an Italian fuel trading firm.

Oando, which is publicly listed on the Nigerian Exchange, is one of the country’s largest enrgy companies.

The allegations from the Milan prosecutor’s office implicate several individuals, accusing them of attempting to deceive Eni with the aforementioned oil shipment. Along with Omamofe Boyo, the document also names Massimo Mantovani, the former chairman of Eni Trading & Shipping (ETS) and Francesco Mazzagatti, former partner and ex-director of Napag.

A judicial review, anticipated to span several months, will begin this Thursday. The aim will be to determine the need for a comprehensive trial.

Mazzagatti is presently the CEO of Viaro, which acquired the North Sea oil producer RockRose in 2020. His representatives in both Italy and London have strongly refuted any involvement in the alleged fraud, emphasizing Mazzagatti’s detachment from the previous venture in question.

Mantovani’s legal counsel has also proclaimed his client’s innocence and has proposed shifting the proceedings to Potenza, citing lack of territorial jurisdiction.

Legal representation for both Oando and Omamofe Boyo who spoke to Reuters vehemently denied all wrongdoing, stating: “If there was any deception, we too are deceived, not deceivers.”

Boyo owns an indirect 19.1-percent stake in the company. Oando’s CEO is Adewale Tinubu, a nephew of Nigeria’s embattled President Bola Ahmeda Tinubu.

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