Canadian Manufacturing

Shell investigated for shady oil-block purchase

Complainants claim the money for the land went to a company secretly owned by a former Nigerian oil minister and never reached state coffers



LAGOS, Nigeria—Royal Dutch Shell says Italian officials are investigating its role in the purchase of an offshore oil block in Nigeria for more than $1 billion.

Shell and the Italian oil firm Eni bought the block known as OPL 245 in 2011. Activists including the watchdog group Global Witness say the money ultimately went to a company secretly owned by a former Nigerian oil minister and never reached state coffers.

An oil block is a very large track of land acquired from a government for oil exploration.

Global Witness and other groups filed a complaint in 2015 with the public prosecutor in Milan that the group says describes Shell’s role in the transaction.

Eni was already being investigated. Both firms have denied wrongdoing.

In a statement this week, Shell said officials searched its headquarters in The Hague in February and that it was co-operating with officials.

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