Valentine Hoen, a spokeswoman for the Dutch public prosecutor’s office, said on Friday that they are preparing to file criminal charges against Anglo-Dutch Shell oil Plc, over suspected corruption in the attribution of Nigerian oil exploration rights in 2011.
He said, “Based on the investigations still underway, the prosecutor has determined that actions which can be prosecuted criminally took place.” while Shell acknowledged that it had been informed by the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office that they are nearing the conclusion of their investigation and are preparing to prosecute Royal Dutch Shell plc for criminal charges directly or indirectly related to the 2011 settlement of disputes over Oil Prospecting License 245 in Nigeria.
Shell and an Italian energy company Eni had been tried over suspected corruption in the acquisition of the rights to explore for oil in the offshore block.
But it has always insisted that no unlawful actions took place in acquiring the rights to explore for oil in the offshore block.
Italian magistrates suspect the two oil groups used bribes to obtain rights to OPL245, estimated to hold nine billion barrels of crude, for $1.3 billion (1.1 billion euros), while almost $1.1 billion is believed to represent bribes paid to a London bank account that ended up going to various Nigerian politicians, including former oil minister.
The two people acting as intermediaries in the case were convicted last year and received four-year jail terms.
Nigeria’s government is pursuing a case in London to recover the $1.1 billion.