Shell and Eni to face trial in Italy over Nigeria bribes

A Milan court will try two oil giants Eni and Shell and key directors over allegations that bribes were paid to former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and his oil minister for the 2011 purchase of the OPL245 oil block there estimated to hold 9 billion barrels of crude. The CEO of Italian energy concern Eni, Claudio Descalzi, and his predecessor Paolo Scaroni are among 11 indicted over the alleged bribes paid to secure the oil licence for $1.3 billion. Both Eni and Shell have denied wrongdoing. It is alleged that Eni and Shell paid $1.1 billion into a Nigerian government account and the money was then distributed as payoffs. Only $210 million from the deal is believed to have reached the Nigerian government. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said “mind-boggling” sums have been stolen from state funds. Co-founder of anti-corruption NGO Global Witness, Simon Taylor, said the government has the right to know about what happened to the missing millions. Milan trial is significant as it is one of the rarest cases centered on a serving CEO of a major oil company.