Tuesday , 20 March 2018

Trial of Shell, Eni over Nigeria to switch to new Milan court -sources

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on December 20, 2017 shows the logo of a Shell petrol station in central London on January 17, 2014 and the logo of the Italian oil and gas company Eni in San Donato Milanese, near Milan on October 27, 2017. Italian giant Eni and fellow petroleum company Shell will stand trial in Italy over allegations of bribery and corruption in the 2011 purchase of an offshore oil block in Nigeria according to Italian media reports on December 20, 2017. A judge in Milan ordered Eni, Shell and key figures such as Eni chief Claudio Descalzi and his predecessor Paolo Scaroni to stand trial in proceedings to begin March 5. / AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT AND MARCO BERTORELLOCARL COURT,MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images

A trial in Italy of Royal Dutch Shell and Eni executives over alleged corruption in Nigeria, which had been due to start on March 5, will be transferred to another court in Milan, delaying the proceedings, legal sources said.

According to Reuters, earlier this week, the Milan tribunal informed lawyers that the court which had been due to hear the trial had too many cases and could not guarantee that it would do so in a reasonable period of time, three sources told Reuters on Friday.

It stated that, the case involves the 2011 purchase by Eni and Shell of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oilfield – one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks – for about $1.3 billion.

Reuters stated that Milan prosecutors allege bribes were paid to win the licence to explore the field, which has never entered into production, adding that all the accused have denied any wrongdoing.

The court is expected to set the new trial date on Monday, the sources said.

A Milan judge ruled in December that the companies, along with present and past executives, would face trial.

The Italian inquiry is one of several into the acquisition of OPL-245, including cases in the Netherlands and Nigeria.




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