The U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") investigated Shell and two of its subsidiaries for alleged U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") violations in connection with their use of Panalpina for logistics and freight forwarding services in Nigeria. On November 4, 2010, a criminal information was filed charging SNEPCO with conspiring to violate the FCPA's anti-bribery and books and records provisions, and with aiding and abetting a violation of the books and records provisions. The charges relate to SNEPCO payment of approximately USD 2 million to its subcontractors, knowing that some or all of the money would be paid as bribes to Nigerian customs officials by Panalpina in order to import materials and equipment into the country.
Separately, the concession for offshore oil block OPL 245, which industry sources have said could contain up to 9.23 billion barrels of crude, was awarded to Eni SpA and Royal Dutch Shell by the Nigerian government in 2011 for USD 1.3 billion. The companies allegedly gave USD 801 million to the former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete and a company he owns, Malabu. Emails published by Global Witness indicate that executives at Shell were informed and had reason to believe or know that part of the payment would go to then-President Goodluck Jonathan, as well as others in Nigeria, as bribes. President Goodluck Jonathan allegedly received between USD 200 million and USD 500 million. Emails also indicate that Shell was aware that the payment would go to Dan Etete. In a phone call recorded in 2016, Shell's CEO Ben van Beurden and then-CFO Simon Henry expressed concern that the deal violated the FCPA.
On 17 February 2016, 50 officers of the Italian financial police and Dutch anti-fraud team raided Shell headquarters in the Hague in relation to the Nigerian allegations. In addition, the Dutch home of former Nigerian Attorney General Mohammed Bello Adoke was also reportedly searched.
According to media reports on 8 February 2017, Italian prosecutors have asked that Eni and Royal Dutch Shell stand trial over the corruption charges. In October 2017, prosecutors asked for the indictment of the two companies and several past and present managers, on charges of an alleged bribery plot to win oil exploration rights in Nigeria. The Italian judge is expected to decide on the indictment on 20 December. Managers listed in the request include current Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi; Malcolm Brinded, Shell's UK chairman from 1999 to 2002; Peter Robinson, former VP for Shell's sub-Saharan Africa operations; and two other former Shell employees, Guy Colegate and John Copleston.
In February 2016, Dutch police raided Shell's office in The Hague. The Dutch Public Prosecutor is conducting a joint investigation with Italian authorities into Shell's purchase of the offshore concession in Nigeria.
According to press reports, in October 2010 Shell paid a USD 10 million fine to the Nigerian government to resolve its domestic investigation into the matter.
The anti-graft agency allegedly filed new charges against Royal Dutch Shell and Eni SpA in 2017. In January, a court ordered Royal Dutch Shell and Eni SpA to give control of the license to the government while government investigations were conducted.
Shell notified UK authorities about the Dutch raid of Shell's office in The Hague in February 2016 and gave the authorities the results of Shell's internal investigation.
On November 4, 2010, the DOJ and Shell entered into a deferred prosecution agreement that requires, among other things, SNEPCO to pay a USD 30 million criminal penalty.
In a related SEC action on the same day, Shell and its U.S. subsidiary, Shell International Exploration and Production Inc., agreed to a pay approximately USD 18.1 million in disgorgement of profits and prejudgment interest.
Shell notified US authorities about the Dutch raid of Shell's office in The Hague in February 2016 and gave the authorities the results of Shell's internal investigation.