OPL 245 corruption cover-up: Shell in fresh trouble

Despite preemptive fillings in the United States, the OPL 245 corruption saga is refusing to go as fresh reports indicated that Shell management is under new probe by the United States Justice Department.

Hint from FCPA indicated that discreet investigation has been launched in Washington despite the filling by Shell.

Reports indicated that alleged cover up has been uncovered by the DOJ. Top management of Shell is reported to be facing fresh investigation for attempted cover up of the scam.

According to the reports, former Petroleum Minister Dan Etete is under surveillance with looming extradition request by the United States.

Etete is presently resident in the United Kingdom.

Findings showed that there are moves by the DOJ to seek Etete’s extradition to the United States.

Oil giants, Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, have earlier in the week voluntarily filed to US authorities internal probes into how they acquired a giant field in Nigeria as the companies seek to fight corruption allegations in Europe and Africa.

According to Reuters, the filings, to the US Department of Justice, DOJ, and Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, do not mean US authorities are investigating Shell or Eni.

But the move shows the companies are trying to preempt questions from the United States as they face one of the oil industry’s biggest-ever graft trials in Italy, to begin in May in Milan, a pending trial in Nigeria and an investigation in the Netherlands.

The case revolves around the purchase of a huge block off oil-rich Nigeria, known as OPL 245, which holds an estimated 9 billion barrels in reserves. Italian prosecutors alleged that bribes were paid in an effort to secure rights to the block in 2011.

A number of top executives from both companies, including Eni Chief Executive, Claudio Descalzi, and former Shell Foundation Chairman, Malcolm Brinded, will face trial.

Both companies’ shares are traded on US stock exchanges, putting their foreign dealings in the scope of US authorities.

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