January 24, 2021

OPL 245: Italian court to give verdict on Shell, Eni case March 2021

OPL 245: Italian court to give verdict on Shell, Eni case March 2021

An Italian court will deliver judgement on Royal Dutch Shell and Eni executives over alleged corruption case in Nigeria by the end of March 2021.

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The oil prospective license (OPL) 245 deal of 2011 involves the $1.3 billion purchase of an oil block by Royal Dutch Shell and Eni from Malabu Oil and Gas, a company Dan Etete, former minister of petroleum, had major shares in.

Out of the sum, $210 million went into government coffers as “signature bonus” — the rest was paid to Malabu Oil and Gas.

Etete, through Anthony Secci, his lawyer, had told the court that the the deal was legally “perfect” and corruption free.

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According to Reuters, Marco Tremolada, president of the judges that will pass sentence, said lawyers for the two companies would be heard in January, followed by prosecutors and defence lawyers in February.

The news agency on Wednesday quoted Tremolada as saying that a final decision would be arrived at by the end of March.

Prosecutors alleged that about $1.1 billion of the money was given as bribe to politicians and intermediaries, with 50 percent of it going to Etete personally.

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The companies and defendants involved, including Claudio Descalzi, chief executive officer (CEO) of Eni, have pleaded not guilty.

They said the purchase price was paid into an account owned by the Nigerian government which was not under their control.

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