Shell admits it knew some payments for OPL 245 would go to Malabu

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Royal Dutch Shell has said it knew that some of the payments it made to Nigeria for the rights to an oilfield (OPL 245) would go to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company associated with a former Nigerian oil minister and convicted money launderer, Reuters reports.

Shell spokesman Andy Norman said the group had known the Nigerian government “would compensate Malabu to settle its claim on the block”. Shell previously had said only that its payments from the 2011 deal went to the Nigerian government.

In an email to Reuters, Norman said that while Shell knew that former oil minister Dan Etete was “involved” with Malabu, it had not confirmed that he controlled the company. Etete was convicted of money laundering in a separate case in France in 2007. Norman added that the company believes the settlement was a fully legal transaction with the Nigerian government.