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Shell set to face criminal charges in the Netherlands over Nigeria fraud allegations

Agency reports

Royal Dutch Shell has revealed it is facing potential criminal charges in the Netherlands over allegations made by the Nigerian government relating to a $1.3bn oil deal.

The Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office has informed the oil giant that it is nearing the conclusion of an investigation and is ‘preparing to prosecute’.

The planned prosecution is linked to the 2011 settlement of a dispute over an oil prospecting licence in Nigeria dubbed ‘OPL 245’.

The Nigerian government has filed a billion-dollar claim against the duo alleging fraud and corruption which it claims diverted millions of dollars from the African nation.

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The funds were allegedly used for ‘bribes and kickbacks’, according to the Nigerian government’s complaint.

It alleged that money was paid to a company called Malabu, controlled by Nigeria’s former oil minister, Dan Etete.

A separate criminal trial relating to the deal is continuing in Italy.

Shell has said it does not believe there is a case to answer.

The firm added on Friday: ‘As appropriate, we will provide updates as this matter progresses.’

The news follows Shell’s reporting in January of its biggest profit haul for four years after higher oil and gas prices produced a 36 per cent surge.

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The FTSE 100 heavyweight posted underlying earnings of $21.4 billion (£16.3 billion) for 2018.

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