By Michael Harrington |
ROME, Italy – Eni, an Italian oil company and Shell, a British oil company will stand trial in Italy over bribery and corruption allegations in the 2011 purchase of an offshore oil block in Nigeria.
A judge in Milan has ordered Eni, Shell and former top executives of Eni Claudio Descalzi and his predecessor Paolo Scaroni to stand trial in proceedings to begin March 5, 2018.
Both oil companies are blamed for corruption in the 2011 purchase of OPL245, an offshore oil block estimated to hold 9 billion barrels of crude, for $1.3 billion.
“Eni’s Board of Directors has reaffirmed its confidence that the company was not involved in alleged corrupt activities in relation to the transaction,” the Italian firm said in a statement Wednesday.
“Eni expresses its full confidence in the judicial process and that the trial will ascertain and confirm the correctness and integrity of its conduct,” it said.
Adding, “chief executive Claudio Descalzi was not involved in the alleged illegal conduct”.
Both Eni and Shell are indicted for corruption in Nigeria over the transaction, which supposedly got Nigeria’s ex-president Goodluck Jonathan and his oil minister received bribes.
Meanwhile, both companies have repeatedly argued that they procured the rights to the lucrative block in line with Nigerian law.
Source: Globe Afrique Media