New Report by Global Witness & Finance Uncovered says Shell and Eni were involved in a corrupt oil deal which deprived the Nigerian people of more than $1.1 billion

A new report by Global Witness and Finance Uncovered reveals how Shell and Eni allegedly participated in a vast bribery scheme for one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks, known as OPL 245 in Nigeria. Top executives at Shell allegedly knew that money they paid as part of a $1.3bn deal in 2011 for a huge Nigerian oil field would end up in the hands of a convicted money launderer, former oil minister of the country, Dan Etete, who had awarded the field/block to his own company, Malabu Oil & Gas, in 1998 when he was oil minister. The report also alleges that part of the bribe money was also paid to former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and other high ranking politicians.

Global Witness and Finance Uncovered say that the deal, fraught with corruption, deprived the Nigerian people of $1.1billion in development finance, an amount worth more than Nigeria’s entire health budget for 2016. According to Global Witness, both companies said they had commissioned separate, independent investigations- “No illegal conduct was identified,” Eni has said, claiming that it “concluded the transaction with the Nigerian government, without the involvement of any intermediaries”. Shell said it had shared key findings of its OPL 245 investigation with relevant authorities and that “we do not believe that there is a basis to prosecute Shell.”

Shell and Eni responses to enquiries from Global Witness are attached as part of this story.

 

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29 October 2017

Shell executives charged in lead up to trial over billion dollar Nigerian bribery scheme

Author: Global Witness (UK)

Senior Royal Dutch Shell executives have been charged in Italy for their role in a vast bribery scheme that deprived the Nigerian people of over a billion dollars, the Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed on Friday. Those facing trial include Malcolm Brinded CBE, the second most powerful person in the company when the deal was struck (1). Shell itself is also facing bribery charges alongside the four named individuals. This historic decision follows a dramatic U-turn in which it admitted that it knew its billion dollar payment would go to convicted money-launderer and former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete, in exchange for Nigerian oil block OPL 245 in 2011...In April, Global Witness and Finance Uncovered revealed that Shell executives knew that $1.1bn they paid for OPL 245 would go to Dan Etete and were likely to be used in a vast bribery scheme. For years, Shell has claimed that it only paid the Nigerian Government. But after our investigations Shell shifted this position and acknowledged it had dealt with Etete, via his front company Malabu...

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Item
11 April 2017

Eni response

Author: Eni (Italy)

...Eni's filings in the pending proceeding in Milan will set forth the company's position regarding the acquisition of OPL 245. In addition, as noted in our letter of March 31, 2017, for further information about this matter, please refer to the materials regarding OPL 245 available on our website and, in particular, the press release issued by the company on December 22, 2016 and February 8 and 22, 2017...

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Item
11 April 2017

Shell response

Author: Shell

Shell response on OPL 245 allegations, 8 April 2017

...[B]ased on our review of the Prosecutor of Milan's file and all of the information and facts available to Shell, we do not believe that there is a basis to prosecute Shell. Furthermore, we are not aware of any evidence to support a case against any former or current Shell employee. If the evidence ultimately proves that improper payments were made by Malabu or others to then current government officials in exchange for improper conduct relating to the 2011 settlement of the long-standing legal disputes, it is Shell’s position that none of those payments were made with its knowledge, authorization or on its behalf....

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Item
10 April 2017

Global Witness says leaked emails put Shell & ENI at the centre of a US$ 1.3 billion bribery scheme which could "save countless lives"

Author: Global Witness (UK)

"New leaked emails put Shell at centre of billion dollar bribery scheme involving some of the most powerful officials in Nigeria", 10 April 2017

Oil giants Shell and Eni knowingly participated in a vast bribery scheme for one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks which deprived Nigeria and its people of $1.1billion, an exposé by Global Witness and Finance Uncovered reveals today. New, leaked internal emails seen by Global Witness and Finance Uncovered show that Shell’s most senior decision-makers knew that the money they paid for oil block OPL 245 in 2011 would go to convicted money launderer and ex-Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete – rather than to benefit the Nigerian people...Shauna Leven, Anti-Corruption Campaigns Director at Global Witness, said: “This is a huge scandal – it must trigger change. For too long the world’s most powerful and profitable oil companies have masqueraded as leaders of responsible business, while robbing countries of their most precious assets. We could save countless lives across the world if ordinary people were able to benefit from the wealth of their own natural resources.”...Both companies said they had commissioned separate, independent investigations. “No illegal conduct was identified,” Eni has said, claiming that it “concluded the transaction with the Nigerian government, without the involvement of any intermediaries”. Shell said it had shared key findings of its OPL 245 investigation with relevant authorities and that “we do not believe that there is a basis to prosecute Shell.” In January Goodluck Jonathan released a statement saying he “was not accused, indicted or charged for corruptly collecting any monies as kickbacks or bribes” in the OPL 245 affair.

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Report
10 April 2017

New report by Global Witness & Finance Uncovered implicate Shell and ENI in a bribery scandal in exchange for access to Nigeria's oil

Author: Global Witness (London)

A new investigation by Global Witness and Finance Uncovered reveals how Shell, the world’s fifth biggest company, participated in a vast bribery scheme for one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks, known as OPL 245. In 2011 Shell and the Italian oil company Eni paid $1.1 billion in a murky deal for this lucrative asset located off the coast of Nigeria. After a lengthy investigation, Global Witness tracked down documents showing that this money for the rights to exploit the country’s natural resources didn’t go to benefit the Nigerian people as it should have done. Instead it went to convicted money launderer and former oil Minister, Dan Etete, who had awarded himself ownership of the block in 1998 via a company he secretly owned, Malabu Oil and Gas...Shell portrays itself as an oil company that does good: obeying laws, creating jobs and respecting the human rights of people in the countries where it drills for oil. Yet our new investigation finds evidence of the company’s most senior bosses knowingly participating in a vast bribery scheme that would rob Nigeria of life-saving funds. Right now, five million Nigerians face starvation and one in ten children don’t live to see their fifth birthday. The money paid for the block equals more than the 2016 health care budget. It’s one and a half times what the UN says is now needed to respond to the current famine crisis. But the Nigerian people saw none of the money...A Shell spokesperson told Finance Uncovered: “Given this matter is currently under investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment on specifics...Eni told Global Witness that while proceedings were pending against Eni they did not deem it was appropriate to debate the merits of the new allegations.

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Article
10 April 2017

Shell & Eni allegedly knew about the $1.3 billion Nigerian oil deal which deprive the people of Nigeria of benefits from the deal

Author: Ben Chapman, Independent (UK)

"Shell corruption probe: Top executives knew part of £1.3bn Nigerian oil deal would go to convicted money launderer", 11 April 2017

Top executives at Shell knew that money they paid as part of a $1.3bn deal for a huge Nigerian oil field would end up in the hands of a convicted money launderer who awarded the asset to his own company when he was oil minister of the country. Emails seen by The Independent and reported by anti-corruption campaign groups Global Witness and Finance Uncovered, show senior bosses at the UK’s biggest company had been informed that hundreds of millions of dollars could flow through former oil minister Dan Etete to be paid in bribes to former President Goodluck Jonathan and other political figures...Shell and Italian oil major Eni agreed to buy OPL245 in 2011 for a total payment of $1.3bn. The money was paid to the Nigerian government but instead of going to the people of Nigeria, £1.1bn was...earmarked for other middlemen…Shell and Eni are currently facing criminal charges in Italy and Nigeria over the deal. Investigators in the Netherlands have also probed the sale, raiding Shell’s offices in The Hague in 2016…

 

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