A Milan court has rejected a prosecution request to hear testimony from a former legal adviser of Eni who has accused the company of spying on judges, offering a boost to the Italian oil firm as it fights bribery allegations over a Nigerian oil field.
Eni and Shell jointly acquired the rights to an offshore oilfield, Oil Prospecting Licence 245, in 2011 but the deal had spawned legal cases spanning several countries.
The ruling on Wednesday removes the prospect of months of testimony voicing allegations of wrongdoing by Eni and sets a timetable for finally reaching a verdict in the long-running case, according to Reuters.
The decision is the second piece of bad news in a few days for Milan prosecutors after a witness last week refused to confirm a key statement.
In one of the oil industry’s biggest ever scandals, Italian prosecutors alleged Eni and Shell bought the Nigeria oilfield knowing most of the $1.3bn purchase price would go to agents and middlemen in bribes.
Eni and Shell had denied any wrongdoing.