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UK Court Lifts Secrecy Order On Corrupt Nigerian Oil Deal Law Suit

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 23.20.44A High Court in the United Kingdom has lifted a secrecy order imposed on a 2013 legal challenge by The Corner House of a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to freeze some $215million alleged proceeds of crime from a corrupt Nigerian oil deal. Shell and ENI have denied paying any money to Malabu Oil and Gas. But they were aware and in agreement that the deal was for the benefit of Malabu.

By Edegbe Odemwingie: 7 November 2014

A High Court in the United Kingdom has lifted a secrecy order imposed on a 2013 legal challenge by The Corner House of a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to freeze some $215million alleged proceeds of crime from a corrupt Nigerian oil deal.

The fund arose from the sale of one of Nigeria’s largest offshore oil concessions, known as OPL 245 to subsidiaries of oil multinationals, Royal Dutch Shell and ENI.

Police in the UK and magistrates in Italy are now formally investigating the deal.

Both companies denied any illegal conduct.

The OPL 245 concession was originally awarded in 1998 by the then Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete, to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company that he set up and owns. In effect, Etete awarded one of Nigeria’s most lucrative oil blocks to himself.

In 2011, Shell and ENI paid $1.1billion, plus a signature bonus of $200million, to the Nigerian government for the concession. In a back-to-back deal negotiated by the attorney general of the federation, the Nigerian government then undertook to transfer $1.1billion to Etete’s company, Malabu.

The deal effectively converted into money an asset that had been acquired by Malabu Oil and Gas in highly suspicious, possibly illegal, circumstances.

Shell and ENI have denied paying any money to Malabu Oil and Gas. But they were aware and in agreement that the deal was for the benefit of Malabu.

In 2011, a middleman acting for Malabu sued the company in the UK Commercial Court for fees he claimed he was owed for services rendered to Malabu in the sale of OPL 245.

SOURCE

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