The Royal Dutch Shell has been drawn into a multinational corruption probe related to the 2011 Nigerian oil deal, British media reported Wednesday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – British and Italian authorities placed Shell and Italy’s Eni under investigation for the $1.1 billion joint purchase of the oil block in mid-2014.
“Representatives of the Dutch Financial Intelligence and Investigation Service and the Dutch public prosecutor recently visited Shell at its headquarters. The visit was related to OPL 245, an offshore block in Nigeria that was the subject of a series of longstanding disputes with the federal government of Nigeria,” Shell said in a statement quoted by The Financial Times daily.
The company confirmed earlier reports of being under investigation by prosecutors in Milan relating to the same purchase, noting that it is cooperating with officials in both countries.
Most of the $1.1 billion is believed to have gone to the Nigerian government’s bank account in London. Prosecutors, however, are investigating whether the ultimate beneficiary was a fake company allegedly set up by Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister Dan Etete.
The Wall Street Journal cites Italian court documents as saying Italian prosecutors are investigating whether Shell and Eni had been aware of the money’s final destination.
The OPL245 is estimated to contain 9 billion barrels of oil.