Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

OPL 245: Shell CEO Ben van Beurden in the firing line

In September 2017, four foreign NGOs filed a declaration in the Netherlands against Shell, Van Beurden and three (former) directors. According to lawyer Barbara van Straaten of the law firm Prakken d’Oliveira, this declaration was added to the current investigation by the Public Prosecution Service.: Almost a year ago, Shell itself filed a statement against former director Peter Robinson. According to the group, the Australian would have been guilty of corruption in Nigeria. Robinson is one of the four former Shell employees who stand trial in Milan. Justice in the US and stock market watchdog SEC were also informed.

English translation of a Dutch article published today by ncr.nl

The question is: did Shell know that the money ended up with the politicians?

Corruption The bulk of the purchase price for the Nigerian oil field OPL 245 ended up in the pockets of politicians. Justice thinks it has enough evidence to prosecute Shell.

Hester van SantenErik van der Walle: 1 March 2019 at 1:00

Shell is being prosecuted in the Netherlands because of possible corruption in Nigeria. The oil and gas company announced on Friday morning that it has been informed about this by the Public Prosecution Service (OM). According to a spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service, “offences” have been committed and there is “enough to prosecute”. The spokesman states that the investigation has almost been completed.

The corruption case revolves around the Nigerian oil field OPL 245. Shell and the Italian oil company Eni jointly paid 1.3 billion dollars in 2011 for the concessions for that oil field. Most of that money eventually ended up in the pockets of Nigerian politicians and senior officials. The question is to what extent Shell and Eni were aware of this. In Italy, this deal is also the subject of a lawsuit. In Milan, two people have now been sentenced to prison terms.

A spokesperson for Shell says in a reaction that there has been “a recent meeting with the Public Prosecution Service. According to the spokesperson, the company spoke about the prosecution of the company, “but not about the persecution of individuals”. People are being persecuted in Milan, including the current Eni CEO, Claudio Descalzi.

In a written response to questions, Shell further reports that it is “still working to fathom the accusations [of the Public Prosecution Service]”. Shell says it has “only recently received a number of documents related to the investigation”.

Illegal

In the Italian lawsuit, which has been running for a year, Eni and Shell are suspected of bribery. Sixteen employees and former employees are also being prosecuted. Four of those former employees are Shell. One of them is British former board member Malcolm Brinded.

The Italian Prosecutor stated that 1.1 billion of the $ 1.3 billion paid for the concessions was illegally landed at a Nigerian former oil minister. The money would then have been channelled to other Nigerian politicians, including former president Goodluck Jonathan. In September, an Italian and Nigerian were convicted behind closed doors.

In that case, Shell has insisted so far that the company and its former employees can not be blamed. On Friday Shell said it was “too early” to determine to what extent the accusations in the Italian and Dutch cases match.

The Dutch Public Prosecution Service has been cooperating with the investigation of the Italian prosecutor since 2016. Three years ago, the FIOD tax investigation service raided Shell headquarters in The Hague.

That day Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell since 2014, was also tapped. The tapes of it leaked later. Against the then financial director Simon Henry, Van Beurden said among other things that according to him nothing clearly stressful was found. He also spoke about e-mails from Shell people in which it was speculated who would get some (from the proceeds) paid. At the time of the acquisition of OPL 245 Van Beurden was active for the chemical branch of Shell.

NGOs happy with step OM

In September 2017, four foreign NGOs filed a declaration in the Netherlands against Shell, Van Beurden and three (former) directors. According to lawyer Barbara van Straaten of the law firm Prakken d’Oliveira, this declaration was added to the current investigation by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM). Van Straaten said on Friday “to be robbed” by the announcement that a criminal case is coming. “That is good news.”

The four NGOs, from the United Kingdom, Italy and Nigeria, had expressed their concern in January: they feared that the matter would be settled with a settlement. One of the NGOs, the British Global Witness, called the announcement Friday “an encouraging signal that no company is above the law”.

Almost a year ago, Shell itself filed a statement against former director Peter Robinson. According to the group, the Australian would have been guilty of corruption in Nigeria. Robinson is one of the four former Shell employees who stand trial in Milan. Justice in the US and stock market watchdog SEC were also informed.

This was a different oilfield in Nigeria than the one in Milan, and now also in the Netherlands. This corruption case, from 2011, came to rolling after a police raid in Robinson’s house following the investigation into OPL-245. Robinson has always denied the allegations of his former employer.

BOX TEXT

In Italy, there is also a criminal case against Shell, Eni and 16 employees around this same oilfield

DUTCH SOURCE

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

0 Comments on “OPL 245: Shell CEO Ben van Beurden in the firing line”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: