A British judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against Eni and Shell by the Nigerian government, claiming that the oil and gas superiors knew about US $ 1.1 billion in bribes given to secure an oil license in Nigeria for nearly a decade since.
The London judge dismissed the case because the UK has no jurisdiction to try the trial, which is basically the same as Shell and Eni are currently in trial in Italy, Bloomberg reported.
Eni and Shell are on trial in Milan for knowing that an alleged payment of $ 1.1 billion in bribes was made to the former Nigerian government as early as 2011, for which Eni and Shell secured exclusive rights to develop the now infamous oil block OPL -245 offshore Nigeria.
The 2011 acquisition of block OPL 245, according to Italian and Nigerian prosecutors, involved a transfer of money to personal accounts held by the Nigerian Minister of Oil at that time.
The sum of the OPL 245 deal was US $ 1.3 billion, a study revealed, of which US $ 1.1 billion was used to order politicians and businessmen to secure the deal. Shell and Eni have always insisted that at that time they were not aware of anything wrong.
Eni and Shell were ordered to trial in Milan under Italian law that mandated companies are responsible for crimes committed by directors and managers when a suspected illegal behavior has favored the legal entity.
In January this year, a key witness for the prosecution in Milan’s trial testified on previous testimony that he had seen evidence that Eni and Shell were involved in bribery in connection with the oil deal in Nigeria. While the Milan trial is nearing completion, other trials await elsewhere over the same Nigerian oil deal. Shell, for one, is facing charges from the Dutch authorities for the acquisition of block OPL 245.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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