Italy’s Supreme Court Rejects Appeal to Stop Shell, Eni’s Nigerian Corruption Trial

Italy’s Supreme Court threw out an appeal from Shell and four former Shell managers to stop a trial on alleged corruption in Nigeria, which also sees Eni’s chief facing charges, legal sources said Wednesday.

The court’s decision coincided with a complaint by US President Donald Trump on rising price of oil, blaming the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for the hike.

The long-running graft case revolves around the 2011 purchase by Eni and Shell of Nigeria’s Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245, and offshore oil field, from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited for about $1.3 billion.

The trial kicked off last month, with the next hearing set for June 20.

Shell and Eni’s appeal was aimed at reversing the trial to the preliminary hearing stage as a result of what it said were procedural errors, but the court decided the appeal was inadmissible.

The former Shell executives involved in the case had claimed a procedural error was made when the original ruling to send the case to court was taken and had applied to Italy’s Supreme Court to void it.

The Supreme Court had fixed June 12 to deliver judgment on the appeal.

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