By Ediri Ejoh, with agency report
Italy’s Supreme Court, yesterday, threw out an appeal by Shell and four former Shell managers to stop their trial on alleged corruption in Nigeria, reports Reuters.
The oil majors are accused of corruption in the 2011 purchase of Oil Prospecting Licence 245, an offshore oil block in Nigeria estimated to hold nine billion barrels of crude.
(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on December 20, 2017 shows the logo of a Shell petrol station in central London on January 17, 2014 and the logo of the Italian oil and gas company Eni in San Donato Milanese, near Milan on October 27, 2017. Italian giant Eni and fellow petroleum company Shell will stand trial in Italy over allegations of bribery and corruption in the 2011 purchase of an offshore oil block in Nigeria according to Italian media reports on December 20, 2017.
A judge in Milan ordered Eni, Shell and key figures such as Eni chief Claudio Descalzi and his predecessor Paolo Scaroni to stand trial in proceedings to begin March 5.
/ AFP PHOTO /
The long-running graft case revolves around the 2011 purchase by Eni and Shell of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oilfield for about $1.3 billion. The trial kicked off last month, with the next hearing set for June 20.
The appeal was aimed at reversing the trial to the preliminary hearing stage due to what it said were procedural errors, but the court decided the appeal was inadmissible.
Nine current and former executives or contractors, including Eni Chief Executive, Claudio Descalzi, have been accused by Italian prosecutors of paying bribes to secure the licence to explore OPL-245. The field holds an estimated nine billion barrels of oil but has never entered production.
All deny wrongdoing, as do Shell and Eni, but if found guilty, those on trial could face jail.