Shell is embroiled in a bribery scandal amid allegations that the oil giant knew money paid to the Nigerian government for a $1.3 billion (£1.1 billion) project in 2011 would go to a former Minister and convicted money-launderer Dan Etete and potentially pay political bribes
This comes after emails allegedly surfaced showing that Shell negotiated with Dan Etete, who was later convicted of money laundering in a separate case. The rumored emails show that Shell and an Italian oil company (ENI) paid $1.3bn to the Nigerian government for access to the field.
Investigators claim $1.1bn was passed to Malabu, a firm controlled by Mr Etete. They insist that Shell and the Italian firm ENI agreed a deal with the Nigerian government for the rights to exploit OPL 245, a prime oil block off the coast of the Niger Delta and that the government passed on $1.1bn of the money to Malabu, according to Italian prosecutors.
Documents filed by the Italian prosecutors claim that $466m of that sum was then laundered through bureau de change and passed on to the then president, Goodluck Jonathan, and members of his government.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan flanked by his Spokesperson Reuben Abati.
When questioned in the past, Shell has claimed that it only paid money to the Nigerian government, which took the form of a sum to settle the long-running legal dispute which had raged over the ownership of OPL 245.
But a spokesman has now said Shell had engaged with Malabu and Etete before signing that deal.
“Over the course of several years, Shell made repeated attempts to fully establish and understand Malabu’s ownership structure, including the exact role of Mr Etete in Malabu,” he said.
Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell, Ben Van Beurden
“Over time it became clear to us that Etete was involved in Malabu and that the only way to resolve the impasse through a negotiated settlement was to engage with Etete and Malabu, whether we liked it or not. This was consistent with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s (FGN) position.
“From the complex multi-party negotiations that followed, we knew the FGN would compensate Malabu to settle its claim on the block. We believe that the settlement was a fully legal transaction with the FGN,” he added.
Source: BBC news (bbc.co.uk)