A witness in the large corruption case against oil and gas company Shell in Nigeria radically changed its statement in the courtroom in Milan Wednesday. Now the retired Swiss suddenly says that he never had contact with Shell. His earlier statements would have been made under “pressure” and he has no evidence that Shell and Italian Eni participated in illegal payments.
It concerns the purchase of exploitation rights for the oil field OPL-245 for the Nigerian coast. To this end, Shell and energy group Eni in 2011 totaled 1.3 billion euros. There has been a hint of corruption around the transaction for some time, because the Nigerian government would have channeled the proceeds to a company owned by a controversial former oil minister.
The criminal trial in Milan has been going on for some time. It was recently announced that the Public Prosecution Service (OM) in the Netherlands is also preparing a criminal case against Shell. The reversal of the testimony seems to be a setback for the prosecutors. Shell and Eni have always denied that something blameworthy has happened.
Maurice Esma, a co-founder of EconomicInform is a freelance journalist with the expertise in international finance and corporate rights. The author can be reached by email email@example.com