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Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron illicit payments

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 17.39.57Extracts from a Thomson Reuters Foundation article by Alia Dharssi published Thu, 29 May 2014

US oil firm prosecutions show need for transparency – activists

TORONTO – Oil and gas companies with major US operations have been the subject of at least 30 prosecutions related to bribes paid to foreign governments under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) since 2007, underscoring the urgent need for transparency regulations to tackle corruption in developing countries, activists and researchers say.

Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron Corp. are among the companies that have faced allegations of making illicit payments to foreign officials, according to research by Paasha Madhavi, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

These two companies are among those that paid $3 billion over the last 15 years to settle charges that they cheated the US government and Native American communities out of royalties on oil and gas leases. They are also among a group of companies that is leading the battle against strong US transparency rules that activists say are necessary to tackle corruption in poor, resource-rich countries.

In another case filed in 2010, Shell was one of several companies accused of paying bribes to Nigerian officials.

The payments were made by a subcontractor and Shell staff involved were disciplined, a company spokesman said in an email. The DOJ dismissed the case after the company, which said it prohibits bribes in any form, cooperated with the DOJ and the SEC in their investigation and complied with terms set out by the US government, the email said.

Since then, Shell has been linked to further corruption in Nigeria. In 2012, a high court judge in London ruled that $1.3 billion, paid to the country by Shell subsidiaries and Italian oil giant Eni for an oil block in 2011, ended up lining the pockets of the former Nigerian oil minister.

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