For the fourth time in a roll, the case against Shell in respect of Oil Prospecting Licence 245 in Nigeria was on Thursday dismissed by a Dutch Court
Earlier, the Tribunal of Milan in Italy acquitted Shell and four of its former employees of charges related to the OPL 245 block in Nigeria on March 17, 2021. The Milan Public Prosecutor then withdrew its appeal against Shell and its former employees on July 19, 2022.
In the United Kingdom court, it was the same dismissal that greeted the case
“In October 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) notified us that it has closed its inquiry into Shell in relation to OPL 245. We understand that this is based on the facts available to the DoJ, including ongoing legal proceedings in Europe. In April 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission notified us that it has closed its inquiry into Shell in relation to OPL 245” said Shell.
Again on Thursday, the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s office announced it had dismissed its investigation into bribery allegations related to Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 in Nigeria.
Shell in its reaction to the Dutch prosecution’s decision to dismiss the case said on Thursday:
“Shell plc (“Shell”) today made the following statement after the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s office announced it had dismissed its investigation into bribery allegations related to Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 in Nigeria.”
“We welcome today’s decision, which marks an end to the criminal investigation in The Netherlands. It follows the Milan Public Prosecutor’s appeal withdrawal earlier this week, which ended all criminal proceedings and confirmed the Milan Tribunal’s decision to acquit Shell and four of our former employees in March 2021.
“The Milan Public Prosecutor acknowledged that there was no evidence of a corrupt agreement or corrupt payments, that this case should end because it has no foundations, and that the defendants have the right to see the end of criminal proceedings, having endured seven years of suffering.
“Today’s dismissal underscores what we have long maintained – that there was no case to answer for Shell or its former employees regarding the 2011 OPL 245 settlement, and that this case should have never been brought.”
When the case was dismissed in Milan, Italy March 17, 2021, Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell plc, had this to say: today made the following statement after the Milan Tribunal acquitted the company of charges related to Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 in Nigeria:
“We welcome today’s decision by the Milan Tribunal. We have always maintained that the 2011 settlement was legal, designed to resolve a decade-long legal dispute and unlock development of the OPL 245 block. At the same time, this has been a difficult learning experience for us. Shell is a company that operates with integrity and we work hard every day to ensure our actions not only follow the letter and spirit of the law, but also live up to society’s wider expectations of us.”
In 2011, Shell reached an agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria and Eni to settle litigation and arbitration dating back nearly a decade related to OPL 245. This was an unprecedented situation, where the Federal Government of Nigeria had separately allocated the same block to two different parties: Shell and Malabu.
The 2011 Resolution Agreement, which was negotiated at the highest levels of the relevant government departments, aimed to resolve the long-standing disputes over the block and enable its development, generating economic activity and revenues that all parties would benefit from. Unfortunately, the block remains undeveloped.