An Italian judge has said that Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) and Eni were fully aware their 2011 purchase of a Nigerian oilfield would result in corrupt payments to Nigerian politicians and officials, Reuters has reported. The move comes after the Nigerian government filed a $1.1-billion lawsuit against the companies in a commercial court in London over the OPL 245 oilfield deal.
Shell’s share price has fallen deep into the red in London this morning, having given up 2.54 percent to 2,263.00p as of 09:03 GMT. The stock is underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.78 percent lower at 6,720.58 points. The group’s shares have lost nearly six percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 10.6-percent drop in the Footsie.
Italian judge comments
Reuters reported yesterday that Milan judge Giusy Barbara had said yesterday that Shell and Eni “were fully aware of the fact that part of the $1.092 billion paid would have been used to compensate Nigerian public officials who had a role in this matter and who were circling their prey like hungry sharks”. The comments were made in her written reasons for the September conviction of Nigerian Emeka Obi and Italian Gianluca Di Nardo, both middlemen in the OPL 245 deal, for corruption.
Shell and Eni bought the OPL 245 offshore field for about $1.3 billion in 2011, and the bulk if the amount was allegedly siphoned to agents and middlemen.
Reuters reported yesterday that Shell had said that neither Obi nor Di Nardo had worked for the company and that there was no basis to convict it or any of its former staff of alleged offences related to the deal.