MILAN (Reuters) – An Italian judge said on Monday there was evidence showing oil groups Eni <ENI.MI> and Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.L> were aware that their 2011 purchase of a Nigerian oilfield would result in corrupt payments to Nigerian politicians and officials.
Italy’s Eni and Shell bought the OPL 245 offshore field for about $1.3 billion (1.03 billion pounds).
The Milan judge made the comment in handing down her reasons for the September conviction of Nigerian Emeka Obi and Italian Gianluca Di Nardo, both middlemen in the OPL 245 deal, for corruption in one of the oil industry’s biggest graft scandals.
Obi, a Nigerian, and Di Nardo, an Italian, have been tried separately from Eni and Shell, which also face corruption allegations over the same deal in a hearing that has yet to be concluded and is expected to drag on for months.
(Reporting by Emilio Parodi; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Agnieszka Flak)