10 April 2017
Italian anti-corruption prosecutors have charged Shell, Eni and several Eni senior executives in connection with the purchase of the massive Nigerian OPL 245 oil block. OPL 245 was estimated to produce nine billion barrels of oil. That would be worth nearly $500 billion at today’s prices. Italian authorities are also seeking to charge four senior Shell executives including the current Shell Foundation Chairman Malcolm Brinded, who at the time of deal was head of Global Exploration and Production. Eni has denied all allegations of corruption being investigated.
In 2011, Shell and Eni paid $1.1 billion to Malabu Oil and Gas, a front company secretly owned by a former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete. Malabu Oil and Gas owned the oil field OPL 245 at that time. The money which would have covered 80% of the health care cost, did not go to the government. It went into private bank accounts from which $500 million was said to have been paid to “fronts for [former] President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria”. This was revealed in Royal Dutch Shell website.
Dan Etete was later convicted of money laundering in a separate case.
The case has attracted the attention of Dutch authorities, who raided Shell’s offices in The Hague in February of 2016.
In January 2017, Nigerian authorities seized the oil block and are seeking charges of bribery, official corruption and money laundering against Shell and Eni subsidiaries in Nigeria.