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The Nigerian government has lost its case against oil companies, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Eni SpA in the U.K, after a London judge ruled against the African country. Nigeria had filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Eni SpA accusing them of bribery in an oil deal involving Nigerian officials.
The judge had concluded that, due to the similarity of the lawsuit with an ongoing Italian criminal case involving all parties, that Englan has no jurisdiction to try the case, hence, ruling against the lawsuit. The Nigeria government, however, argued that the cases are different and vow to appeal the ruling, Bloomberg reported.
This London lawsuit is part of a series of legal cases resulting from oil deal which centers on exploration rights to a tract in the Gulf of Guinea called Oil Prospecting License 245. According to Nigeria, the oil exploration license was acquired in 2011 by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Eni SpA, and payment for the license was diverted to bribes and kickbacks.
While the two oil companies denied the allegations, Nigerian officials at the time were said to have used $1.1 billion payment to purchase the oil block for personal enrichment, and the Nigerian government claims both Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Eni SpA are liable for the behaviour of the Nigerian officials.
In a statement, Shell said, “We maintain that the 2011 settlement of long-standing legal disputes related to OPL 245 was a fully legal transaction with Eni and the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the most senior officials of the relevant ministries,”
The dismissal of the lawsuit in London, however, doesn't affect the ongoing Italian criminal case which also involves Nigeria.
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