Russia has requested Italy drop its charges against an ambassador involved in a Nigerian corruption scandal, according to legal papers.
The scandal concerns oil field purchases in 2011 involving Russia’s former ambassador in Colombia, Ednan Tofik ogly Agaev, and companies Eni and Shell.
It is alleged by prosecutors in Milan that licenses were won after $1.1bn in bribes were paid.
Agaev denies all charges.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, asked Italian officials to be “reasonable” in a letter, while also saying Russia was convinced of his innocence.
“We hope the Italian authorities adopt a reasonable approach and after respective checks find a way to change the status of E.T. Agaev from accused to witness,” the letter said.
The Italian Ministry is yet to comment, however Italian prosecutor, Sergio, Spadaro, described the intervention as “at the very least surprising”.