Thursday, July 23, 2020

Nigerian Oil and Corruption

Italian authorities have accused the oil companies and their executives of knowingly paying bribes and kickbacks to secure part of an oilfield estimated to hold billions of barrels of oil in a 2011 deal worth $1.3bn.
Italian prosecutors have called for executives at Royal Dutch Shell and Italy’s Eni to face jail time over alleged corruption in a $1.3bn (£1bn) oil deal in Nigeria.
Fabio De Pasquale, one of Italy’s top anti-corruption prosecutors said Eni’s chief executive officer, Claudio Descalzi, should face eight years in jail.
He also asked the court to consider a seven-year and four-month sentence for Malcolm Brinded, who ran Shell’s exploration and production division at the time.
In his closing arguments of the two-year trial, De Pasquale urged the Milan court to seize $1.09bn from the defendants, who also include a string of Nigerian businessmen.
The licence was originally awarded by the Nigerian government in 1998 to Malabu Oil and Gas, which was later found to be controlled by the country’s oil minister at the time, Dan Etete. The former minister was one of the parties alleged to have taken a kickback from the lump sum deposited by Shell and Eni into an escrow account controlled by the Nigerian government to secure an interest in the oilfield. Italian prosecutors are seeking a 10-year jail sentence for Etete.
Shell may face a separate legal battle over its record in Nigeria after lawyers representing the country’s farmers and fishermen brought an appeal to the UK’s supreme court, which could reopen claims against the company over oil spills in the Niger Delta.

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