From the Field
Eni, Shell aware of Nigeria graft: judge
ABUJA, December 17, 2018 – Eni and Royal Dutch Shell were aware the OPL 245 deal would lead to corrupt payments in Nigeria, an Italian judge ruled Monday.
“The management of oil companies Eni and Shell […] were fully aware of the fact that part of the USD 1.092 billion paid would have been used to compensate Nigerian public officials who had a role in this matter and who were circling their prey like hungry sharks,” Reuters quoted judge Giusy Barbara as writing in her justification for the sentence of Emeka Obi and Gianluca Di Nardo.
In September, Obi and Di Nardo were sentenced to four years in prison for their role as go-betweens in the 2011 sale of the OPL 245 offshore block to Shell and Eni.
The two companies and 13 defendants are currently being tried in Italy on corruption charges related to the deal. Among the defendants are Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi and former chief Paolo Scaroni. Malcolm Brinded, former executive director for upstream international; Peter Robinson, former vice-president for Shell’s sub-Saharan Africa operations; Guy Colegate, a business adviser; and John Copleston, a strategic investment adviser, were all charged with bribery in October. Shell and Eni have both denied wrongdoing.
The Nigerian government filed a USD 1.1-billion lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in a London commercial court over the OPL 245 deal last week.