Fidelity bank banner Bayelsa State banner
Don't neglect to pay the middleman: How Shell and Eni ended up on trial

By Libby George, Shadia Nasralla on 21/05/2018

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+

Views: 398


 Now, nine current and former executives or contractors from Italy’s Eni(ENI.MI) and British-Dutch giant Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), including ENI Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi, have been accused by Italian prosecutors of paying bribes to secure the license to explore a large offshore oilfield in 2011.

If found guilty, the individuals on trial face possible jail terms for bribery. All deny wrongdoing, as do Shell and Eni.

The criminal trial will proceed in Milan on June 20 after a short initial hearing on May 14.

Some of the key issues in the trial came to light during the two separate civil suits filed by a Nigerian, Emeka Obi, and a former Russian diplomat, Ednan Agaev, a Reuters review of court filings shows.

 Both men said they were owed millions of dollars by a Nigerian company, Malabu Oil and Gas, for arranging meetings with Shell and Eni.

The judge in Obi’s case upheld evidence that Obi arranged meetings between former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete, who was convicted of money laundering in an unrelated case in France in 2007, and representatives of Eni, and that he negotiated on Etete’s behalf with Shell.

In addition, documents produced in Agaev’s case showed that when Eni and Shell paid for the license, they deposited more than $1 billion into a Nigerian government escrow account in London but most of the money later ended up with Malabu, which was controlled by Etete, the judge said.

The judges found that, in a conflict of interests, Etete had a stake in Malabu and was also oil minister when the Nigerian government awarded the company the license to explore the field in 1998, a decision that was reversed in 2001, reinstated in 2006 and later challenged by Shell.

These details helped Italian prosecutors put together their case, industry insiders say.

Etete denies charges of bribery for channeling money from the deal to Nigerian politicians. He and his lawyers did not respond to requests for comment by phone and email.

Shell said by email that if improper payments are shown to have taken place, they were not made with Shell’s “knowledge, authorization or on its behalf.” It said it believes the judges will find there is “no case” against Shell or its ex-employees.

Eni said by email that it could not comment on the case. It has previously said it concluded the deal with the Nigerian government without the involvement of intermediaries and that it had no commercial agreement with Malabu.

LEGAL BATTLES

Eni and Shell said they were unable to confirm who owned Malabu when they acquired Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245.

But in her decision on Obi’s civil case in London in July 2013, Lady Justice Elizabeth Gloster upheld Etete’s control of Malabu, court records show. Basing her decision on testimony and documents, she said Etete had a stake in Malabu when it was awarded OPL 245 in 1998 and had been “the principal beneficial owner” since later that year.

She said Obi had meetings with Shell representatives before the OPL 245 deal, though she did not say how many, and that he frequently met officials from Eni.

On one occasion, Etete, Descalzi, Obi and Agaev sat together in a Milan restaurant at a dinner for the “the main personalities” to meet and assess the seriousness of their intentions, she said.

She said Obi should be awarded at least $100 million for his work as a “dealmaker”, the court records show.

Agaev launched arbitration to seek a $65 million fee from Malabu for his work as a go-between and eventually reached an out-of-court settlement, details of which were not disclosed.

While the arbitration was under way, he asked a court in New York to freeze a Nigerian government account in London that held $74 million, most of it due to be transferred to Malabu.

The court said it had no authority to freeze the money but reviewed documents showing Eni and Shell had deposited just over $1 billion into the account as payment for OPL 245 in May 2011.

A further $208 million was released from escrow as a “signature bonus” for the government, court records show.

 Around $800 million was transferred to Malabu in August 2011 and the rest was frozen pending the civil cases.

Agaev declined to comment about his civil case or the Milan trial. Obi could not be reached for comment and attorneys who have represented him declined to pass on his contact details.

Eni and Shell said their payments were above board as they went directly to the Nigerian government. JP Morgan Chase, which ran the escrow account, has denied negligence. (Reuters)

 

Source News Express

Posted 21/05/2018 11:55:03 AM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
Trump demands immediate release of American pastor by...

Okpe Union Worldwide berates Governor Uduaghan, demands development...

Putin offers $8.6 billion to Russian families to...

Customs, rice farmers sign MoU to stop rice...

Breaking: Gunmen abduct secondary school students from hostel...

Building Collapse: You have case to answer, court...

Old Bende passes vote of confidence on Ikpeazu,...

NEMA investigates transporter over diversion of relief materials...

‘Arewa lawyers’ call for Emefiele’s removal provocative, unjustified’...

Pro-Obiano Judge exposes self at Governor's mother’s funeral...

Awo Chieftaincy Dispute: Osun Commission of Enquiry strikes...

NUPENG threatens to stop fuel supply over salary...

 

Latest News Boko Haram threatens to kill Leah Sharibu Lagos PDP dangles governorship ticket at Ambode Floods kill 100 in 10 states Kogi Governor's convoy in 'serious' accident National Convention: PDP presidential aspirants kick against Port Harcourt venue U.S. to admit 310,000 refugees, asylum seekers in 2019 Guber aspirant promises to pay monthly stipend to APC officials if elected governor 12 children died every minute in 2017 — UN Bandits abduct 7 in Birnin-Gwari Court stops ex-parte orders on all political cases Forum on China – Africa approves reconstruction of Oron – Calabar road Witness narrates how Evans collected dollar ransom on kidnap victim

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (393,666 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (375,324 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (306,767 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (249,481 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (230,990 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (221,023 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (199,023 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (180,648 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (164,722 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (162,826 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (157,436 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (146,356 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (61) Business & Economy (3,603) Business Verdict (51) Columnists (927) Complaints & Requests (94) Enterprise & Opportunities (207) Entertainment (546) Features (651) Global Business Monitor (299) International (2,398) Interview (164) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (143) News (38,937) Opinion (1,103) Pidgin (11) Politics (6,614) Religion (866) Sports (1,693) Stock Watch (33) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

CBN banner

Firstmobile banner

 

 

NEWS EXPRESS TV

Chelsea vs Cardiff 4-1 Highlights

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement