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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Italy judge expected to rule on Eni, Shell indictment over Nigeria on Dec. 20 – source

(Corrects paragraph six to read “…former…” instead of “…current…” and adds paragraph seven saying Malcolm Brinded temporarily stepped down earlier this year as chairman of the Shell Foundation)

MILAN, Oct 31 (Reuters) – An Italian judge is expected to decide on December 20 whether to send oil majors Eni and Shell to trial over alleged corruption in Nigeria, two legal sources said on Tuesday.

Milan prosecutors have asked for the two companies and some past and present managers, including current Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, to be indicted in a case revolving around the purchase of a Nigerian oilfield in 2011.

A judge must now rule whether to press charges or dismiss the case.

The Italian inquiry is one of several under way into the acquisition of the OPL-245 field for about $1.3 billion, including current cases in the Netherlands and Nigeria.

Under Italian law a company can be held responsible if it is deemed to have failed to prevent, or attempt to prevent, a crime by an employee that benefited the company.

On Tuesday a court in Milan decided to wrap a strand of the investigation involving three former Shell managers and former Shell Foundation chairman Malcolm Brinded into the main inquiry, the sources said.

Brinded stepped down as chairman on a temporary basis while the case is running.

SOURCE

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