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Dan Etete, Nigeria’s former petroleum minister, said the $ 1.3 billion sale of the Malabu oil field to Shell and Eni in 2021 was legally sound and there was no trace of corruption in the deal.

He made the announcement Wednesday through his attorney Antonio Secci in a Milan court investigating the cases of bribery and corruption reported by Reuters related to the deal.

READ: Why Nigeria is suing Royal Dutch Shell and ENI over $ 1.1 billion

At Wednesday’s hearing, Dan Etete’s lawyers demanded that the former Nigerian minister be acquitted of corruption allegations related to the deal.

Reuters announced that 13 other people are implicated in the corruption case, including Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi.

READ: The court adjourned Shell, Eni officials on bribery charges in Nigeria

The defendant pleaded not guilty and said that the proceeds of the deal had been deposited into accounts of the Nigerian government.

The ex-Shell executives also accused in the case will hold a hearing on December 9th.

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READ: P&ID Dispute: $ 200M Guarantee on FG’s Verdict Demonstrates FG’s Commitment to Fighting Corruption – Malami

What you should know

Multinational oil companies Eni and Shell paid $ 1.3 billion to acquire the OPL 245 offshore field in 2011.

The payment went to a company called Malabu, owned by former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete.

However, Italian prosecutors claim that most of the payments were setbacks to Nigerian government officials. Italian prosecutors also claim that Nigerian politicians and middlemen stole nearly $ 1.1 billion, with Dan Etete keeping half.

READ: US $ 85 million Malabu oil money was returned to FG

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Nigerian Justice Minister Abubakar Malami reported in July that the Dutch and Swiss governments are expected to send US $ 200 million from the OPL 245 Malabu Oil Deal to Nigeria.

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Multinational petroleum and oil giant Royal Dutch Shell announced that it would write off its investment in Nigeria’s controversial Malabu OPL 245 offshore field.

READ: Italian court arrests Nigerians, another over Malabu oil deal

in June the federal government tracked down and grounded one Luxury private jet owned by the country’s former petroleum minister, And Eteteabout his alleged stake in the $ 1.1 billion Malabu Oil fraud. The luxury private jet is said to have been bought with proceeds from this oil business.

Nairametrics reported that on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, the federal government asked a court in Milan to order Royal Dutch Shell and Eni to pay the $ 1.092 billion amount as an immediate advance payment for damage in the Malabu oil scandal.