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Inside the Bribery Scandal Sweeping Through the Oil Industry

Shell and Eni paid $1.3 billion for oil rights in Nigeria. Whether the money was mostly a bribe is at the heart of one of the industry’s most dramatic criminal cases

EXTRACTS

A top oil executive walked into the marble lobby of an exclusive Milan hotel on a chilly winter night. His dinner date was a former Nigerian oil minister offering to sell one of Africa’s biggest untapped oil discoveries.

Eight years later, the question of whether the $1.3 billion paid for the license to that prized oil field was mostly a bribe is at the heart of one of the biggest bribery scandals the oil industry has ever seen.

Shell executives, including Malcolm Brinded, Shell’s global exploration and production chief at the time of the deal, will also be tried on those charges, as well as both companies. Eni and Shell both deny wrongdoing, saying they simply paid the government and didn’t know the money would be used for …

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