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Shell and Eni face corruption charges over Nigerian deal

The companies are accused of a paying a Nigerian politician $801 million for a block that he was awarded for a token sum: DAVID BEBBER/THE TIMES

Emily Gosden, Energy Editor: March 4, 2017

Royal Dutch Shell and Eni have been charged with corruption over their $1.3 billion acquisition of a huge oil exploration block off the coast of Nigeria.

Prosecutors in the west African country allege that the companies corruptly gave $801 million to individuals including Dan Etete, a former Nigerian energy minister, and Malabu, a company linked to Mr Etete, to which he had awarded the block for a token sum while he was minister.

The OPL 245 block, which the companies acquired in 2011, is reputed to be Africa’s largest oilfield, with estimates suggesting that it could contain up to nine billion barrels of crude.

Shell and Eni, which have denied wrongdoing, have said they bought the block from the Nigerian government. Their critics allege that…

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