Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) has referred a former executive to the Dutch authorities, suspecting he may have committed crimes related to an asset sale in Nigeria, Bloomberg has revealed. The move comes at a difficult time for the oil major which is already facing a criminal trial in Milan over an alleged bribery scheme related to the separate purchase of a Nigerian oil block called OPL 245.
Shell’s share price has slipped marginally into the red in London this morning, having given up 0.26 percent to 2,233.50p as of 08:26 BST. The group’s shares are underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.08 percent higher at 7,050.42 points. The group’s shares have added nearly five percent to their value over the past year, as compared with about a 4.3-percent dip in the Footsie.
Shell files criminal complaint
Bloomberg reported yesterday that Shell had referred former vice president for sub-Saharan Africa Peter Robinson to the Dutch authorities, suspecting he may have committed a crime during the sale of an onshore oilfield, Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42, to local company Neconde Energy Ltd in February 2011.
“Based on what we know now from an internal investigation, we suspect a crime may have been committed by our former employee,” the company said in a statement, as quoted by the newswire. “We were stunned and disappointed when we learned about this.”
Robinson worked in Nigeria for Shell from 2008 to 2011 as vice president for commercial in the sub-Saharan Africa region, part of a more than 30-year-tenure at the company.
Analysts on Anglo-Dutch group
Morgan Stanley reiterated its ‘overweight’ rating on Shell yesterday, valuing the shares at 2,830p. Barclays is also ‘overweight’ on the company, with a price target of 3,000p. According to MarketBeat, the Anglo-Dutch oil major currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average valuation of 2,650p.