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Two big oil companies go on trial in Italy

Stanley Reed

On Monday, two of the world’s largest oil companies, Royal Dutch Shell and Eni of Italy, are expected to go on trial in Milan on corruption charges over a $1.3 billion oil deal in Nigeria. The defendants include current and former oil executives, among them Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s chief executive. The case stems from a long-running investigation by Italian prosecutors into a payment the companies made to the Nigerian government in 2011 to settle a legal dispute over a potentially lucrative tract in the Atlantic Ocean known as OPL 245. Both companies deny wrongdoing, but having such senior or former top executives facing trial is unusual. The trial is expected to take months.

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