Shell targets former executive in Nigeria graft complaint

LONDON: Royal Dutch Shell has filed a criminal complaint against a former senior employee over suspected bribes in the $390 million sale of an oilfield in Nigeria, where the company is already under investigation over a separate deal. Dutch prosecutors confirmed they had received the complaint against Peter Robinson, a former vice president for sub-Saharan Africa. They said it would be included in an ongoing investigation into Shell and Italy’s Eni over the acquisition of a different Nigerian oilfield, known as OPL 245.
Shell and Eni deny any wrongdoing related to OPL 245, in which Robinson is being prosecuted. A spokesman for Anglo-Dutch Shell said the two cases were unrelated. Chiara Padovani, a lawyer representing Robinson, said in a statement he denied any allegations of misconduct. Robinson has not been contacted by Dutch authorities about any such complaint, she added.
“Our client regrets that an issue between him and his former employer has been drawn into the public domain. He has not been informed of the details of Shell’s complaint against him,” Padovani said.
Shell said an internal investigation had found that Robinson may have committed a crime during the sale of an onshore oilfield, Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42, to local company Neconde Energy Ltd in February 2011. “We suspect a crime may have been committed by our former employee, Peter Robinson, against Shell in relation to the sale process for Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42 in Nigeria in 2011,” a Shell spokesman said in a statement.
“We have filed a criminal complaint with the Dutch authorities and are considering other steps we could take.”
In a statement, Neconde Energy said it purchased its stake in the field following a competitive bidding round and made no payments to Robinson, Shell or other companies in order to facilitate it. — Reuters