A day after Eni announced that the US department of justice has closed investigation into its role in the OPL 245/Malabu deal of 2011, Royal Dutch Shell said it has also been notified on its own probe.
Shell and Eni teamed up to acquire OPL 245 from Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd in 2011 but the deal has become a subject of criminal proceedings in Milan, Italy, following allegations of sleaze.
Shell and Eni are currently on trial but they have denied any wrongding.
“The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has notified us that it has closed its inquiry into Shell in relation to OPL 245. We understand that this is based on the facts available to the DoJ, including ongoing legal proceedings in Europe,” Shell said in a statement.
In 2011, the federal government brokered a deal between Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, the original allotees of the enormously endowed but controversial OPL 245, and Shell/Eni who wanted to buy the oil block from the Nigerian company.
While Shell and Eni paid a signature bonus of $210 million to the federal government, they paid $1.1 billion to buy 100 percent interest in the oil block from Malabu.
However, the entire $1.3 billion was transferred to the account of the federal government in London, UK, from where Malabu was paid its $1.1 billion.
Subsequently, it was alleged that bribes were paid to politicians, businessmen and middlemen to facilitate the deal, considered by activists as unfavourable to Nigeria.