Nigeria oil corruption trial postponed

Shell
The two companies are involved in a purchase of an offshore oil block in Nigeria for $1.3bn in 2011

A corruption trial involving oil giants Shell and Eni’s business dealings in Nigeria, which was due to begin in a court in the Italian city of Milan on March 5 2018, has been postponed.

The judge said it would be transferred to another Milan court to avoid further delays.

The case involves the purchase of an offshore oil block in Nigeria for $1.3bn (£1bn) in 2011.

It is alleged a large part of the payment went not to the Nigerian state but to Nigerian politicians as a bribe.

The companies deny wrongdoing, saying they acquired the rights in accordance with Nigerian law.

Anti-corruption watchdog Global Witness says it could be one of the biggest corporate corruption trials in history.

The companies are also facing charges in Nigeria over the case, which concerns Nigeria’s OPL-245 – an offshore oilfield estimated to hold 9bn barrels of crude oil – secured by Shell and Eni in 2011.