Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) has reiterated that it has not been involved in any wrongdoing in Nigeria, Reuters has reported. The comments follow media reports alleging that hundreds of millions of dollars from the Anglo-Dutch oil major and Italy’s Eni were used for illicit payments to Nigerian officials.
Shell’s share price has inched higher in London this morning, having added 0.14 percent to 2,146.50p as of 10:14 BST, slightly underperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which is currently 0.42 percent better off at 7,379.46 points. The group’s shares have added just under 24 percent over the past year, but have given up more than four percent in the year-to-date.
Reuters reported yesterday that both Shell and Eni had denied wrongdoing in Nigeria after a joint investigation by BuzzFeed News and Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore claimed to show transactions worth $1.3 billion which the two companies made to acquire an exploration licence for an offshore oil block known as OPL 245.
While the money was paid to the Nigerian government, BuzzFeed and Il Sole said that the documents showed that the Anglo-Dutch group’s top executives at the time knew that those sums would go to Malabu Oil and Gas, a front company connected to former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete. The reports come with courts in Nigeria and Italy investigating the 2011 purchase of the block.
Reuters quoted Shell as saying that “based on our review of the Prosecutor of Milan’s file and all of the information and facts available to Shell, we do not believe that there is a basis to prosecute Shell”. The group further told the newswire in an emailed statement that if the evidence proves improper payments were made, “it is Shell’s position that none of those payments were made with its knowledge, authorisation or on its behalf”.