The Nigerian government has decided to withdraw all its claims from the Italian courts, filed at one time against the Italian oil and gas company Eni. The agency reports this Bloomberg with reference to documents at the disposal of the editors.
Eni was accused by Nigerian authorities of corruption when it acquired, along with Shell, a license to develop a field off the coast of Nigeria in 2011. The corresponding lawsuit was filed in an Italian court in 2017. The transaction amount was $1.3 billion. Moreover, according to investigators, most of this money went to bribes to the Nigerian authorities. Later, a similar lawsuit was filed by the Nigerian authorities and the High Court in London. Shell, as well as subsidiaries of the two corporations and a number of their employees, are co-defendants in this case.
According to the agency, Nigeria’s Ministry of Justice will withdraw civil suits seeking to fine Eni $1.1 billion from Italy’s High Court no later than November 17. At the same time, the Nigerian authorities will refuse to file any further claims against the company in Italian courts related to the case surrounding obtaining a license to develop this field.
Eni confirmed receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Justice withdrawing the claims from the Italian court. However, there is still a long way to go before the proceedings between the company and the Nigerian authorities on this issue are completed. Shell and Eni will not be able to begin developing the field until Eni’s complaint to the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, as well as the trial in Nigeria itself, are completed.
Eni estimates that the oil field at the center of the decades-long dispute is one of the richest in the country. Its reserves are estimated at 560 million barrels.
At the end of 2021, the Italian prosecutor’s office also closed the investigation against Eni and its CEO Claudio Descalzi in this case.