Italian prosecutors have requested that former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Dan Etete, Shell, Eni and several senior executives of Eni, including the current CEO, Claudio Descalzi, be sent for trial over alleged international corruption offences over the 2011 purchase of Nigerian OPL 245 oil block.
They are also seeking separate charges against 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.
In 2011, Shell and Eni paid $1.1 billion to Malabu Oil and Gas, a front company secretly owned by Mr. Etete.
Prosecutors, according to online publication, Premium Times, have alleged that over $500 million went to “fronts for former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria” in the deal which deprived Nigeria of a sum worth 80 per cent of its 2015 healthcare budget.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has denied the allegations, saying in a statement that he had never used fronts to “seek favour or collect any gratification on his behalf.”
“This request demonstrates that major international companies and their senior executives are not above the law. Shell and Eni look now to be finally facing a trial over these matters, and others need to wake up to the new reality where corrupt deals and the actions that lead to them cannot stay hidden behind closed doors.”
‘’Global Witness has campaigned for decades to carve out transparency in this secretive sector; this case proves that the age of accountability is dawning.” said Simon Taylor of Global Witness.