Continental Focus, International Reach

Dutch Prosecutors Near Conclusion of OPL 245 Investigation

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office (DPP) is nearing the conclusion of the investigation and is preparing to prosecute Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell) for criminal charges directly or indirectly related to the 2011 settlement of disputes over OPL 245 in Nigeria.

Shell is facing prosecution in the Netherlands over a license in Nigeria, intensifying its legal troubles from a transaction that has dogged the company for years.

“We have been informed by the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office that they are nearing the conclusion of their investigation and are preparing to prosecute,” Shell said on February 1.

The prosecution of the company and ENI is related to the 2011settlement of disputes over OPL 245 in the Gulf of Guinea. The transaction is already the subject of a separate criminal trial in Milan, where prosecutors allege the 2011 deal was tainted by corruption.

Prosecutors maintain that at least part of a $1.1 billion payment Shell and partner ENI made to settle charges around the license was converted into bribes. Nigeria is also suing the oil companies in London.

Both firms have denied any wrongdoing in the OPL 245 case. They have said they paid into a legitimate government account to settle legal claims related to the block. A spokeswoman for the Dutch prosecutor’s office said the investigation wasn’t yet concluded and declined to give details on whether others had been charged or when it would be completed.