A news media outlet, The Global Witness in a report uncovered emails show that senior executives from the world’s fifth largest company were knowingly involved in a massive bribery program that stole $1.1 billion from the Nigerian people. Download the full report
New evidence shows that oil giant Shell was involved in a massive bribery scheme that stole over $1 billion from the Nigerian people.
Shell’s internal emails viewed by Finance Uncovered and Global Witness show how the world’s fifth largest company was involved in a plan that deprived Nigeria and its people of $1.1 billion in a shady deal to gain access to one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks, known as OPL 245.
Shell denied for years that they had done anything wrong, but today’s emails show that they knew the money would be diverted into private hands and went ahead with the deal anyway.
This is devastating for the people of Nigeria. Five million of them are currently threatened with hunger. The money paid by the bloc is one-and-a-half times what the UN believes is needed to respond to the current hunger crisis. But the Nigerian people have seen none of the benefits.
WHAT THE LEAKED EMAILS SHOW
The emails released today indicate that senior executives knew that massive payment for the oil block would go to Dan Etete – a convicted money launderer and former Nigerian oil minister. He spent part of it on a private jet, in armored cars and with hunting rifles.
The emails also indicate that key Shell officials were told the money would go to some of the country’s most powerful people, including then President Goodluck Jonathan.
Shell presents itself as an oil company that does good. However, our investigation reveals a history of hypocrisy and fraud and finds that the company’s top executives have withheld funds to save lives in Nigeria by running an obscure business they knew was a huge bribery scheme.
BACKGROUND: THE OPL 245 DEAL
In 2011 Shell and Italian oil company Eni paid $1.1 billion for this lucrative asset off the coast of Nigeria in a dubious deal. After a lengthy investigation, Global Witness found documents demonstrating that this money would not benefit the Nigerian people as it should. Instead, it was sentenced to money launderer and former oil minister Dan Etete, who in 1998 claimed ownership of the block through a company he secretly owned, Malabu Oil and Gas.
For six years Shell denied doing anything wrong, claiming that it had only negotiated with the Nigerian government to secure the rights to the block. This latest investigation shows that Shell’s top managers knew where the money was really going.
Source: The Global Witness