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Report: Italian judge says Shell, Eni knew of Nigerian oil deal bribery

An Italian judge found Dec. 17 that oil firms Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Eni SpA were aware that the purchase of the Nigerian oilfield OPL 245 in 2011 would result in bribing Nigerian politicians and officials.

Milan Judge Giusy Barbara said the management of oil companies Eni and Shell were "fully aware of the fact that part of the $1.09 billion paid would be used to compensate Nigerian public officials who had a role in this matter and were circling their prey like hungry sharks."

She made the comment while explaining her reasons for the September conviction for corruption of middlemen Nigerian Emeka Obi and Italian Gianluca di Nardo, who were tried separately from Eni and Shell. The companies also face corruption allegations over the deal.

Shell and Eni bought the OPL 245 offshore field for around $1.3 billion, and it was alleged that about $1.1 billion of the total was given to agents and middlemen.