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Nigerian oil field deal Shell accuses former executive of hiding bribes in Switzerland

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The Shell name is linked to two criminal investigations involving Swiss bank accounts.

(Keystone)

Royal Dutch Shell has filed a criminal complaint against a former employee it suspects of stashing kickbacks from the sale of a Nigerian oil field in Swiss bank accounts. 

The energy company is already being investigated over another deal there. 

+ Read why the Swiss attorney general blocked three bank accounts earlier this month 

In this new case, opened with the Dutch authorities and announced on Wednesday, Shell points the finger at its former head of commercial operations in sub-Saharan Africa. 

“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,” said the Anglo-Dutch group in a statement. “We were stunned and disappointed when we learned about this issue.” 

According to Reuters, Nigerian company Neconde Energy Ltd bought OML 42 for $390 million (CHF373 million). Neconde has denied the allegations of bribing Robinson to secure the purchase. 

In an unrelated bribery case, Shell, Robinson, and three other former Shell employees are scheduled to go on trial in Milan in May in connection with Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245. Shell is the largest international oil producer in Nigeria. 

It was during the investigations for that case that Australian authorities raided Robinson’s house in Perth and discovered links to a Seychelles company and two Swiss bank accounts unknown to Shell, reported the Financial Times on Wednesday. 

A lawyer representing Robinson said in a statement he denied any allegations of misconduct. 

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland confirmed on Wednesday that Swiss federal prosecutors had supplied information to authorities in Italy and the Netherlands probing alleged corruption related to oil contracts in Nigeria.

Reuters/Financial Times/swissinfo.ch/sm

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