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Shell implicates former oil executive in Nigeria corruption scandal

Royal Dutch Shell has filed a criminal complaint against a former executive in its Africa oil exploration business over bribery allegations, which have dogged Shell’s work in oil-rich Nigeria in recent years.

The oil major implicated Peter Robinson in the latest corruption scandal after an internal investigation unearthed suspicions of wrongdoing in the sale of an onshore Nigerian oilfield in 2011.

The Anglo-Dutch group is understood to suspect Mr Robinson of taking kickbacks on the deal to sell Shell’s stake in an aging onshore oil field, known as OML 42, to Nigerian oil firm Neconde Energy.

Its suspicions were piqued after discovering evidence of secret Swiss bank accounts and a Seychelles-registered holding firm in Mr Robinson’s name after a sweep of the executive’s Australian home.

Shell said it was “stunned and disappointed” by what it learned and has filed its criminal complaint with the Dutch authorities.

The latest controversy emerged as the oil major continues to battle corruption charges relating to a different Nigerian oilfield, called OPL 245, alongside Italian oil company ENI in Milan. The $1.1bn deal to buy the offshore block was undertaken by Mr Robinson in the same year as the onshore oil deal, but is “unrelated” according to Shell.

“We continue to believe, from our review of the prosecutor of Milan’s file and all of the information and facts currently available to us, there is no case to convict Shell or its former employees,” said the spokesman on Shell’s battle over OPL 245.

Last week it emerged that Swiss authorities froze local bank accounts linked to Mr Robinson holding several hundred million francs while prosecutors investigate whether it was used to funnel funds from Nigeria to a company called Energy Venture Partners, which was set up in Mr Robinson’s name in the Seychelles in 2011.

In a statement Shell said: “Our code of conduct, our business principles and our core values of honesty, integrity and respect govern the way we do business. We work tirelessly to uphold these principles and we expect high standards of behaviour from everyone who works for Shell.”

“Where those standards are breached we are committed to taking the appropriate action, and to learning lessons,” the group added.

Shell is also considering other steps in addition to the Dutch criminal complaint.

Peter Robinson could not be reached for comment and Neconde Energy did not respond to a request for comment.

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