On top of hosting the election result that the whole world is waiting for, Italy is also receiving some major European oil companies for what is described by some as the ‘biggest bribery trial in history’ in Milan today.
Dutch oil giant Shell stands next to Italian oil company Eni, both accused of bribery and corruption in the purchase of an offshore oilfield in Nigeria. The sum involved is a whopping $1.1 billion.
During the 2011 purchase of OPL245 (an oil block estimated to hold 9 billion barrels of crude in Nigeria), these two European companies handed out bribes to local politicians and executives.
Eni released a statement denying all charges: "Eni expresses its full confidence in the judicial process and that the trial will ascertain and confirm the correctness and integrity of our conduct."
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Trial of Shell, Eni executives over OPL 245 starts Monday - TheCable Petrobarometer <a href="https://t.co/2EZ27KuW64">https://t.co/2EZ27KuW64</a></p>— simon kolawole (@simonkolawole) <a href="https://twitter.com/simonkolawole/status/969905152516902913?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 3, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Shell claimed it would stand side by side with its Italian partner and claimed there was absolutely no case for the prosecution against them, adding "there is no place for bribery or corruption in our company."
However, according to corruption watchdog Global Witness (an NGO that tracks documents and reports corruption worldwide), the purchase agreement between the two companies and the Nigerian government saw Mr Goodluck Jonathan (the former president of Nigeria) and Mr Dan Etete (the former oil minister of Nigera), receive large bribes.
According to the document obtained by Global Witness, the deal resulted in $1.1 billion being paid into an escrow account in a London bank. The account was opened by government officials of the then Nigerian government with the proceeds going directly to Mr Etete and another $210 million being spread around various government officials.