Algerian officials have opened an investigation into alleged corruption involving the state-owned oil company Sonatrach and Italy’s Eni.

The news follows reports in Italy that Eni chief executive officer (CEO) Paolo Scaroni was also under investigation regarding accusations of bribes being paid to Algerian officials in order to win over $10bn-worth of contracts in the North African state.

The claims centre around contracts worth about $11bn that were won by Italy’s Saipem. Eni has a 43 per cent stake in the contractor. Saipem CEO Pietro Franco Tali has already resigned because of the allegations.

Algeria’s public prosecutor, Belkacem Zeghmati, has confirmed that a probe has now been launched in Algiers that will involve an investigation into the alleged recipients of the payments.

No Sonatrach officials have been named in connection with the investigation.