Former Nigerian Minister, 12 Others to Face Trial in Italy Over $1.1bn Malabu Oil Deal
A former Nigerian minister of petroleum, Mr Dan Etete, and 12 others are set to be prosecuted in Italy for their alleged involvement in the controversial $1.1 billion Malabu oil deal.
The Nation reports that Italian prosecutors filed the charges in a court in Milan just as Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has instituted similar criminal proceedings at a federal high court in Abuja.
In Nigeria, Etete and other accused persons are to answer to a 7-count charge of money laundering and fraud.
Italian prosecutors listed another Nigerian, Chukwuemeka Obi, among the defendants in the case in Milan while multinational oil companies, Shell and Eni are also listed in the Malabu Oil suit.
Obi and his firm, EVP reportedly laid claim to about $110 million of the $1.1 billion paid by Shell and Eni for OPL 245, considered to be Nigeria’s richest oil block. He had claimed the sum was his entitlement for facilitating the deal.
The money has however been frozen in Switzerland on the request of Italian authorities investigating the fraudulent deal.
Other persons found culpable by the Italian authorities include: DescaJzi Claudio, the CEO of Eni; his predecessor, Paolo Scaroni; Roberto Casula, Armanna Vincenzo, Antonio Pagano, Ednan Agaev, Luigi Bisignani and Falcioni Gianfranco.
According to the Italian prosecutors, officials of Italian oil giant Eni may have received $50 million bribe from the $1.1 billion the company and Shell paid into a Nigerian government account in 2011.
Meanwhile, former petroleum minister Etete has accused the Nigerian government of unfairly targeting him, citing the government’s refusal to charge Shell, Agip and ENI in the Nigerian case.
Etete maintained that the multinational oil companies were all parties to the agreement which was brokered by former attorney-general of the federation, Mr Bello Adoke SAN.
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