The federal government has filed a $1.1 billion suit against Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni and other companies for a 2011 Malabu oil deal saying it was tainted with corruption.
Reuters reports that the suit which was filed on Wednesday in London said the money paid by the companies was diverted to bribes and kickbacks.
The oil field is already the subject of an ongoing trial in Milan, where prosecutors claim that bribes totalling $1.1 billion were paid.
“It is alleged that purchase monies purportedly paid to the Federal Republic of Nigeria were in fact immediately paid through to a company controlled by Dan Etete, formerly the Nigerian minister of petroleum, and used for, amongst other things, bribes and kickbacks,” a statement released by the federal government on Thursday read.
“Accordingly, it is alleged that Shell and Eni engaged in bribery and unlawful conspiracy to harm the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that they dishonestly assisted corrupt Nigerian government officials.”
According to the filing papers, the federal said JP Morgan acted with gross negligence when it allowed funds paid for the oil field’s license be transferred to a company controlled by Dan Etete, a former minister of petroleum resources.
“If the defendant acted with reasonable care and skill and/or conducted reasonable due diligence it would or should have known or at least suspected … that it was being asked to transfer funds to third parties who were seeking to misappropriate the funds from the claimant and/or that there was a significant risk that this was the case.”
The ongoing trial in Milan has already found two middlemen guilty for their ” complicity in a bribery scandal”.