‘Oilfield sale not linked to acquisition graft case’
ROYAL Dutch Shell has concluded that a Nigerian oilfield sale where it suspects an executive took bribes was not linked to a separate court case in which he and Shell face corruption charges over a $1.1 billion (R15.1bn) offshore acquisition.
The Anglo-Dutch company filed a criminal complaint in March against Peter Robinson, a former vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa, saying he took bribes in the $390 million sale of onshore Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42 to a Nigerian firm.
Robinson is also one of several former Shell employees involved in a trial in Milan, in which Shell and Italy’s Eni are accused of corruption related to the $1.1bn purchase of a giant Nigerian offshore field, Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245. Both the OML 42 and the OPL 245 deals were signed in 2011.
Shell, the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, said it had completed an internal review of the OML 42 sale process and other deals Robinson was involved in, and had concluded his only violation was related to OML 42.
Shell, Eni and Robinson deny any wrongdoing in the OPL 245 case.
Robinson also denies any wrongdoing in the OML 42 sale.
Regarding the OML 42 sale, Shell said: “We have found no evidence to suggest that this was anything other than an isolated breach by a former employee, operating deliberately outside of Shell systems or controls.
“We have also found no evidence of a connection between Robinson’s actions on OML 42 and OPL 245, and we have reconfirmed this to the Dutch Public Prosecutor.”
The Dutch prosecutor’s office confirmed yesterday that it had received further information from Shell but offered no additional comment, saying it was still evaluating all the information and determining the next steps.
Robinson’s lawyer, Chiara Padovani, said her client “denies any allegations of criminal misconduct in connection with OML 42”.
She also said Robinson “agrees with Shell’s conclusion that the sale of OML 42 is unrelated to OPL 245”.
A source said in March that documents related to the OML 42 case had been uncovered after investigators looking into OPL 245 raided a house in Perth, Australia, owned by Robinson.
Milan prosecutors allege bribes totalling about $1.1bn were paid to win the OPL 245 deal for Shell and Eni. | Reuters
SHELL says a former executive took bribes in the sale of an oilfield in Nigeria.