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.