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Oil giants sued for billions over 2011 oil deal

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The Nigerian government has today filed a $1.1bn lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in a commercial court in London in relation to a 2011 oilfield deal.

The OPL 245 oilfield is also at the heart of an ongoing corruption trial in Milan in which former and current Shell and Eni officials are on the bench.

Milan prosecutors allege bribes totalling around $1.1bn were paid to win the license to explore the field which, because of disputes, has never entered into production.

“It is alleged that purchase monies purportedly paid to the Federal Republic of Nigeria were in fact immediately paid through to a company controlled by Dan Etete, formerly the Nigerian minister of petroleum, and used for, amongst other things, bribes and kickbacks,” Nigeria said.

“Accordingly, it is alleged that Shell and Eni engaged in bribery and unlawful conspiracy to harm the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that they dishonestly assisted corrupt Nigerian government officials.”

Meanwhile, Shell stated: “the 2011 settlement of long-standing legal disputes related to OPL 245 was a fully legal transaction with Eni and the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the most senior officials of the relevant ministries.”

Eni said in an emailed statement it rejected “any allegation of impropriety or irregularity in connection with this transaction.”




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