On the heels of the U.S. reversing an anti-corruption “resource extraction rule,” new revelations concerning Shell’s complicity in one of the largest corruption scandals in Big Oil’s history illustrate how resource-rich countries fall victim to the “resource curse” – corrupt officials making off with the revenue from sales of natural resources at the expense of the masses. Foreign Policy reports.
The money paid by Shell and Eni for the OPL 245 field is about 1.5 times what the U.N. says is needed to resolve the famine crisis.
The deal centered around former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete … [who] secretly acquired rights to OLP 245 through a shadowy front company called Malabu, which later funneled over $1 billion of the deal away from the Nigerian people and directly into the pockets of senior Nigerian officials.
“Etete can smell the money. If at nearly 70 years old he does turn his nose up at 1.2bill he is completely certifiable…but I think he knows its [sic] his for the taking. I don’t think he will push it away.”
Shell CEO Ben van Beurden picked up the phone and called his chief financial officer hours after Dutch police raided his offices. “I trust you have been informed about what happened at the office,” van Beurden said to CFO Simon Henry on the phone on February 17 last year. “So it looks as if they have some form of coordination between the Italian prosecutor, possibly … with a link into the [U.S. Department of Justice], but we’re not sure yet,” van Beurden said, not knowing authorities were listening in on the other end of the line.
His suspicions were right, and their subsequent conversation sheds light on Shell’s complicity in one of the largest corruption scandals in Big Oil’s history – after the company vigorously denied any role in it for years.