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Shell Nigerian Corruption Case Approaches Climax

FD Ochtendnieuws 

Non-professional translation (Google Translation plus) of an article published today 30 Oct 2017 by the Dutch equivalent of the Financial Times.

Will Shell be formally charged in a major corruption case concerning an oil field in Nigeria, or does the oil and gas multinational know how to duck the dance?

On Tuesday, the last of a series of hearings takes place in a Milan court where prosecutor Fabio de Pasquale argues that Shell and four former Shell executives should be prosecuted together with the Italian multinational Eni. “The decision [of the judge] will follow on the 31st or a few days later,” so De Pasquale informs the FD. He does not want to go further on the matter.

‘Shell played a crucial role in illegal activities’

The case in Italy results from years of Italian research into a major oil deal of Shell and Eni in Nigeria in 2011. “From the evidence so far, it is clear that Shell also played a crucial role in the illegal activities that resulted in the signing of the settlement agreement on April 29, 2011 and the payment of $ 1,092,040,000”, public prosecutors De Pasquale and Sergio Spadaro wrote on October 14, 2015 in a request to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service.

This is stated in a leaked file, commissioned by the Italian judiciary and held by Vrij Nederland. A portion of nine gigabytes of information (thousands of pages of internal emails, reports, and wiretapped calls) was shared with the FD.

Headquarters attack

The request of the Italians was accepted. A joint research team was set up in 2016 and from, among other things, obtained documents, e-mails, reports and other information from Shell’s head office in The Hague

It’s all about a payment of over $1 billion in 2011 that Shell and Eni involving the Nigerian government as settlement in a long-standing struggle over the ownership of an offshore oil license: OPL245.

Much of that $ 1.1 billion eventually disappeared into the bags of corrupt ex-oil minister Dan Etete and other former Nigerian government leaders. The Italian prosecutors suspect Eni and Shell devised a financial construction to pay lump sums to hand over the oilfield.

Private airplane and luxury cars

The leaked dossier reveals striking details such as the fact that over half a billion dollars have been cashed, of which a private aircraft, luxury cars and a shopping mall in Dubai were purchased.

Shell has always denied paying money to corrupt government officials, but after the leak of hundreds of internal emails and documents earlier this year, admitted  that it knew that the money it paid to the Nigerian government would ultimately be used for a settlement with Etete and that it had to come into contact with him and his company Malabu. However, Shell maintains that there is no legal basis for prosecution.

‘Legally very smart’

Geert Vermeulen, director of compliance agency ECMC an international fraud and corruption expert, who follows the case, also believes that Shell is really difficult to explain. “Shell has transferred money to Eni and not directly to the Nigerian government. Legally it has probably been very clever. ”

However, he finds that the company has acted entirely negligently. “Maybe they’re going to go wrong with it, but if you read what has hitherto been revealed, you cannot say that integrity has been handled in accordance with Shell’s internal business code,” Vermeulen said.

On Tuesday, 31 October, the last hearing will take place in Milan. Then the court decides whether prosecution can be deployed.


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One Comment

  1. Sunil says:

    A fir had launched against shell in India
    Regarding fraud.

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