Nigeria says ex-president Jonathan and oil minister took bribes – court filing

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The Nigerian government has accused former President Goodluck Jonathan and Diezani Madueke, his then oil minister of accepting bribes and breaking the country’s laws to broker a $1.3 billion oil deal eight years ago, a London court filing shows.

The deal, in which Shell and Italian peer Eni jointly acquired the rights to the OPL 245 offshore oilfield, has spawned legal cases spanning several countries.

In papers advancing a London commercial court suit against Shell and Eni, lawyers for the Nigerian government said Jonathan and Alison-Madueke conspired to “receive bribes and make a secret profit”, keeping the government from getting what it was owed from the deal.

“Bribes were paid,” the filing, reviewed by Reuters, states. It says “the receipt of those bribes and the participation in the scheme of said officials was in breach of their fiduciary duties and Nigerian criminal law.”

A spokesman for Jonathan declined to comment and said the former president was in South Africa as part of an election monitoring team. A London-based lawyer for Madueke did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nigerian attorney general Abubakar Malami did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 2011 deal is also the subject of a corruption trial in Milan in which two middlemen have been convicted and former and current Shell and Eni officials are also on trial.

An Eni spokesman said the Italian firm was assessing whether UK courts had jurisdiction on a case of “such duplication” to the Milan proceedings and repeated its view on “the correctness and compliance of every aspect of the transaction.”

Shell did not immediately comment, but has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in relation to OPL 245.

The London lawsuit relates to payments that Shell and Eni made to acquire the … Read More...