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U.S. lawmakers urge DOJ re-investigate Shell & Eni over $1.3b Oil-field Scandal

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U.S. lawmakers urge DOJ re-investigate Shell & Eni over $1.3b Oil-field Scandal

Two U.S. Congress members, Representatives Maxine Waters and Joyce Beatty, are urging the Department of Justice to reopen a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation into Shell and Eni over allegations of corruption surrounding a 2011 deal, including former President Goodluck Jonathan for a lucrative Nigerian oil bloc, Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245.

The allegation of corruption in a 2020 news report shows that Shell and Eni paid $1.092 billion in damages, following which the Nigerian authorities demanded that a Milan court in Italy issue the order.

In a letter dated 8 May 2024, Waters and Beatty of the Committee on Financial Services then demanded Shell and Eni be investigated under the FCPA for paying $1.1 billion to Nigerian officials, including claiming Jonathan had pocketed the sum of $200 million and the former Attorney General, Bayo Ojo who saw to the deal.

However, this investigative inquiry came after President Bola Tinubu reportedly restored Shell and Eni’s oil block ownership.

US Congress members Waters and Beatty have since emphasised that U.S. law prohibits American firms from bribing foreign officials to benefit their business interests.

Reopening this case would further illustrate the U.S.’ commitment to ‘aggressively pursue foreign bribery cases,’ as stated in the U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption, and reaffirm its pledge to fully implement the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, they added.

Meanwhile, the OPL 245 deal is the most widely talked about oil block since 1998, when Dan Etete, a convicted money launderer and Nigeria’s former oil minister during General Sani Abacha’s military era, awarded the OPL license to Malabu Oil & Gas, a company the US claimed to be linked to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his then-vice President, Atiku Abubakar.

Attached is a copy of said letter.

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