1/ This morning in Milan prosecutors are making concluding arguments in the unprecedented corporate corruption trial of Shell and Eni. The oil giants are accused of paying over $1bn into a bribery scheme benefiting former President Jonathan for the OPL 245 oil license.
2/ I'll be tweeting what happens here (in English). Many thanks go to @Recommon and @irpinvestigates who managed to arrange an audio feed from the court so we can report safely. You can listen in (in Italian) at
3/ You can also follow @irpinvestigates and @Recommon for twitter coverage in Italian and English and the intrepid @nextcarola from NRC who's on the spot reporting in person (in Dutch).
5/ The Public Prosecutor presenting today is Dr Fabio De Pasquale. He outlines what he plans to cover today: Shell arguments, expert evidence and the evidence of former Eni manager Vincenzo Armanna.
6/ Lawyers acting for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, participating in the trial as the victim of the alleged crime will either present their concluding arguments this afternoon or at the next hearing on the 9th September depending on how quickly the prosecutor goes.
7/ The prosecutor starts by outlining how Malabu Oil and Gas, a company controlled by the then Nigerian Oil Minister Dan Etete, received the OPL 245 license in 1998, paying only $2m of the $20m required signature bonus, bringing in Shell only to have the license revoked in 2001.
8/ The prosecutor recounts how Shell then signed a Production Sharing Contract with Nigeria for the OPL 245 license in 2003 while the Nigerian House of Representatives sided with Etete and Malabu. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285477598361980928
9/ The prosecutor explains how Malabu sued the Nigerian government over the revocation of the license, losing the case in 2006 but the Attorney General at the time, Bayo Ojo, stepped in with a settlement that handed the block back to Malabu. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285478647097364480
10/ The prosecutor outlines how in 2007 the Shell country manager wrote that "I went to visit Dan Etete" and future oil minister Diezani Alison Madueke joined the meeting "She has a family relationship with Etete" they wrote. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285480606185521152
11/ The prosecutor explains that Etete wanted to charge an extraordinary $1.5m for access to the block's 'data room' as Etete already needed money to pay officials he owed. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285481297285177344
12/ The prosecutor reads from the Eni due diligence report which spelled out that their sources told them that Etete controlled Malabu. In 2007 Etete was convicted in France of laundering bribes he received from oil companies. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285481960710774786
13/ The prosecutor reminds the court that one of the first payments Etete made with the money from the OPL 245 deal was to send $8m to the French authorities, his overdue court fine from his 2007 money laundering conviction.
14/ The prosecutor quotes Shell's senior manager Ann Pickard, President Yar'Adua does not want Etete to get all the money, MoP is on the take.
Says that only with the support of current public officials would Etete be allowed to sell a stolen state asset. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285484217414148096
15/ The prosecutor now quotes one of Shell's two ex-MI6 agents they hired to be their advisors on the ground Coplestone and Colgate "I wonder who gets a pay off here".
16/ When Dutch and Italian financial police raided Shell's headquarters in The Hague in 2016 they caught Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden on the phone sharing his concerns with Simon Henry about the police finding the "loose chatter" about their deal between their ex-MI6 employees.
17/ The prosecutor recounts that Ben Van Beurden knew these employees said "I wonder who gets a pay-off here". Shell's compliance and internal investigation however has been kept confidential, covered by privilege. "How funny a non-transparent compliance!" https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285486463623335937
18/ The prosecutor describes that the Nigerian government played the role of a filter, protecting Shell from Dan Etete's involvement in OPL 245. As the @TheEconomist put it in 2013 writing about the deal it was the way to have "safe sex in Nigeria".
19/ The prosecutor says in 2016 when Shell's offices were raided they found Shell's internal investigation into the OPL 245 deal, the "Xyno Report". Shell has kept the report secret. A ruling is pending on Shell's claim of privilege on many documents. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285488484283817984
20/ The prosecutor says it was this internal report Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden was referring to in his wiretapped phone call.
21/ The prosecutor reminds the court that these Shell employees had been senior in Britain's MI6 intelligence agency. According to Ednan Agaev, the middleman, himself a former Russian ambassador, Coplestone was MI6 Chief in Abuja, Colegate an intelligence chief in Hong Kong.
22/ According to the prosecutor Colegate and Coplestone's job was in part to explore the "appetites" of public officials. Colegate explained that there were "lots of sharks circling" the deal. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285490003234238465
23/ The prosecutor recounts that Shell CEO Van Beurden dismissively called Copleston and Colegate's messages "pub talk" but says these were not unprofessional, they were key to Shell understanding the deal and these two dealt with the key managers at Shell.
24/ The prosecutor explains that they related to the members of Shell's powerful Upstream leadership committee. They also held the relationship with General Gusau, Nigeria's spymaster. As Shell's head of Sub-saharan Africa put it "a very powerful man" https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285491600555151360
25/ The prosecutor cites an email from a Shell manager who wrote that Etete had "a huge chain of interests" to satisfy on OPL 245. Copleston and Colegate similarly noted that General Gusau had "free money expectations". https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285494024518934528
26/ The prosecutor talks through Shell's negotiations in 2009 meeting with Etete and Gusau, they counted on Gusau putting pressure on Etete. https://twitter.com/Recommon 
27/ The prosecutor explains the role of two the deal's middlemen: Ednan Ageav, who dealt with Shell and Emeka Obi with Eni, formally as consultants for Malabu but it was suspected Obi was also there to take a cut for the Italians. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285495403908157442
28/ The prosecutor points to the account of Eni manager Vicenzo Armanna on the remarkable closeness of Obi and Eni managers including Descalzi (now CEO) starting with dinner with Obi and Etete at a Milan hotel. Text messages confirm their relationship. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285496590204051456
29/ The prosecutor explains Agaev's important role pointing to Copleston's email in 2010 "Ednan [Agaev] spoke again with Eni and there were confidential talks with Peter Voser". Agaev also worked with Etete's advisor Granier-Deferre to influence Etete. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285497445233852416
30/ The prosecutor recalls the letter he received from the Russian foreign minister writing to the court to defend Agaev. Agaev revealed a lot in his interviews, he tried to retract those statements when he took the stand in Milan as a defendant. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285498204302249984
31/ De Pasquale explains that Agaev hoped to receive 6% of the OPL 245 deal price, $65m, he asks rhetorically when a diplomat can hope to make that kind of money? https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285498912929980416
32/ The prosecutor claims that Emeka Obi's contract is clearly backdated. When Eni managers visited Goodluck Jonathan Agaev organised for Obi to meet Gusau. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285500282944851968
33/ The prosecutor explains Shell managers attended a September 2010 dinner at Eni manager Roberto Casula's house, they discussed extra money to pay Obi. Shell then met Obi.
34/ The prosecutor read a 24 November 2010 text message from Agaev to Obi giving him a week for an agreement with Eni on money. Etete was in Milan a week later, but was only able to meet Casula, not Descalzi and didn't come to an agreement.
35/ The prosecutor explains the close links between Casula, Obi and Descalzi, shown by many messages. Some of these were wiretapped in a Naples investigation, evidence excluded by the court as coming from a separate investigation. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285503663620980737
36/ The prosecutor points to Agaev's role as Shell's backchannel to "The Chief", Dan Etete. Agaev knew details of the deal from both sides. Etete visited Agaev in Russia after the deal. Agaev and Obi fell out with each other later. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285504399373209606
37/ De Pasquale says he will now move on to the relationship between Shell and Eni. Shell managers wrote about possible bribes whereas Eni did not. This was because Shell was not used to having its office raided by police. The "Dutch Mirror" https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285510544166998016
38/ The prosecutor looks at the July 2010 letter from Jonathan and Diezani Alison Madueke, minister of oil, to Malabu confirming their rights to OPL 245. Etete showed this letter to Shell's Colegate in Paris. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285512780028751873
39/ The prosecutor recounts that Shell's Colegate told colleagues that Jonathan still saw Etete as his "Oga" and that there was "an attempt to deliver significant revenues to GLJ" [Goodluck Jonathan]. This showed a clear risk of corruption.
40/ Prosecutor looks at a briefing note for Shell head of upstream Malcolm Brinded ahead of a call with Descalzi. The note says that Jonathan is "driven by expectations about the proceeds that Malabu will receive and political contributions that will flow as a consequence"
41/ The prosecutor says the note and call also covers Eni's CEO Scaroni's meeting with Jonathan in August 2010. Shell wanted to know how the meeting went, about their offer to Etete through Obi and pressure on Etete. He says the companies were aligned. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285516429316546562
42/ The prosecutor says this "in country view" of Jonathan's desire for political contributions was "reinforced by Eni's comments". https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285517146773233664
43/ @nextcarola reports that earlier in the hearing a defendant's lawyer asked if the light could be turned on in the dim bunker courtroom. "No" said the President of the court "they are broken and you are here to listen". https://twitter.com/nextcarola/status/1285500291874541571
44/ The prosecutor reads out the formula for the deal from Shell's internal briefing. "X+SB+Y=Z"
"X is value that Eni is prepared to pay to secure 50% of the Block"
"SB is Signature Bonus to be payable to FGN (by Shell)"
45/ "Y is any amount that Shell is prepared to pay to supplement the amount paid by ENI to Etete and thus "ensure" success;
Z is payment to Etete that will be acceptable to all players in Abuja;"
46/ The prosecutor explains that in the end the deal closed with a total payment of $1.3bn with Eni paying $980m.
47/ Etete rejected an offer in October 2010 for only a few tens of millions of dollars less. This failure showed that Agaev and Obi were not able to handle Etete and close the deal, afterwards the negotiations were brokered instead by the Nigerian government officials.
48/ The prosecutor says that Eni manager Armanna has confirmed all this. Armanna warned Eni about the risks of working with Etete on OPL 245. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285521146901929985
49/ The prosecutor says that in this new phase of negotiations with Nigerian government officials Shell took the lead. The company, Europe's biggest corporation, had spent hundreds of millions on exploring the block. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285521888593289216
50/ The prosecutor explains that the deal brokered by Nigeria's attorney general was disrupted by Mohamed Abacha, the son of the late dictator who launched legal action against Malabu in December 2010. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285524982366375936
51/ The prosecutor now moves on the role of former Nigerian Attorney General Bayo Ojo in the 2006 settlement returning OPL 245 to Malabu. He cites Eni's expert witness Oditah who referred to 35 cases but he says most are irrelevant. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285526111141732352
52/ The prosecutor says Oditah is not an oil industry expert and only hazarded a guess at the grounds for the withdrawal of the license in 2001 which was "illegal" in their view and the overdue signature bonus was not essential. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285527189824430080
53/ The prosecutor calls Etete's award of OPL 245 to his own company while in office the "elephant in the room" and points to the government quotes to the authoritative @PlattsOil publication in 2001 which cited this reason.
54/ The prosecutor further critiques Eni's expert witness Oditah who acknowledged there could be a conflict of interest but said that Etete's role in Malabu was only speculated. The prosecutor says there was abundant evidence of Etete controlling Malabu. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285528276019093510
55/ The prosecutor addresses the Kolade commission, set up by President Obasanjo which did not recommend revoking OPL 245, but says that according to Nigeria's official gazette the commission only looked at licenses awarded in 1999, so not OPL 245 - 1998. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285529173423992834
56/ The prosecutor recounts Oditah's claim that even though Malabu lost their case over the 2001 revocation of the license in 2006 they would have won on appeal. He says though the Judge, Lady Miatu's ruling was sound, she is now very senior in Nigeria. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285531284614381569
57/ The court is now breaking for lunch, back at 2.45 Milan time.
58/ A reminder that this is an ongoing trial. All the defendants have pleaded not guilty and they will be presenting their concluding arguments starting in September. Others named who are not defendants in the trial, notably former Nigerian officials have all denied wrongdoing.
60/ Back after a break the prosecutor, Fabio De Pasquale, says he will now tackle the evidence from Shell's expert witness Femi Segun.
61/ The prosecutor identifies key issues to address; the lack of any tender for OPL 245, Nigeria's indigenisation programme and local content, the highly unusual and favourable fiscal terms for the companies and back-in rights
62/ The prosecutor says Segun also identified the issue of conflict of interest, that public officials cannot receive personal benefits from their role but said that the Nigerian Code of Conduct Bureau did not act. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285559190250049538
63/ De Pasquale says that the discretionary allocation of licenses with no tender was common with Nigeria's military regime, Nigerian officials warned about this in 2001 and he says this opens the door to corruption.
64/ The prosecutor says Shell's expert, Segun, acknowledged the lack of transparency in the allocation process for OPL 245. Discretionary allocation of oil licenses is still allowed but no longer seen as good practice. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285560881414393861
65/ The prosecutor lists off the fields Segun gave as being allocated through a discretionary process but all of them are marginal fields, not exploited for years, so none are relevant when comparing to the massive OPL 245 field. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285562163847991298
66/ The prosecutor says Segun suggested that OPL 245 allocated in this way because is was encumbered, but he says this was just her opinion and isn't based on the facts that have emerged in the trial. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285563239233982466
67/ The prosecutor points to Shell emails noting that Nigeria's Attorney General Adoke warned that if Etete doesn't agree to a deal he will revoke the license, another Shell email confirms this. So the block could just have been revoked and re-awarded normally.
68/ The prosecutor adds that a December 2010 email sent by Armanna, the Eni manager, confirms this "AG told me that if transaction is not completed soon, FGN is determined to open a tender on OPL 245". So the prosecutor says Shell's expert was wrong. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285564362686705664
69/ The prosecutor tackles the indigenisation policy, which gave companies majority owned by Nigerians the rights to oil blocks on a "sole risk" basis in the 90s. Later Nigeria sought to ensure the country got a better cut and switched to production sharing contracts.
70/ The prosecutor explains that the 2006 letter returning OPL 245 gave the block back on a sole risk basis and in 2010 the indigenisation policy did become law. However Shell and Eni wrongly claimed they could be considered Nigerian companies. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285566306645934091
71/ The prosecutor explains that in the 2011 deal for OPL 245, Nigerian officials should have considered the country's interest in OPL 245, but they did not. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285567021866979328
72/ The prosecutor explains the fiscal terms for deepwater offshore licenses in Nigeria. The deal includes a contract titled a "production sharing contract" (PSC) but it is mislabeled as it is only between Shell and Eni, when it must include the state oil company to be a PSC.
73/ The prosecutor points to a Shell email memorializing NNPC's position in a February 2011 meeting "NNPC could accept to bend on some issues of PSC...this has to be one-off and not a precedent".
74/ The prosecutor points out a Shell email mentions that Eni managers also had concerns that the contract was mislabelled. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285569360745177100
75/ The prosecutor says that the prosecution expert witness also dealt with the issue of back-in rights, the right for NNPC to re-acquire a stake later. The final deal kept some of Nigeria's rights but they would have to pay part of the $1.1bn Shell and Eni paid plus costs.
76/ The prosecutor says the defence pointed to one similar case, Famfa oil, but its not clear why would Nigeria agree to such terms for OPL 245.
77/ The prosecutor is now going to move on to his analysis of the testimony given by former Eni manager and defendant in the case, Vicenzo Armanna.
78/ De Pasquale explains that Armanna first gave a statement to authorities in 2014 that part of the money paid by Eni for OPL 245 went as kickbacks to Eni managers. Eni's CEO (since 2014) Claudio Descalzi responded denying this in a newspaper interview https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285575402388414464
79/ The prosecutor explains that Armanna made a lot of his statement public shortly afterwards but in 2016 gave further statements, walking back some allegations against Descalzi. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285576065080008705
80/ The prosecutor describes a written statement from Armanna which said he changed his view on kickbacks and only suspected, rather than knew about, payments to Nigerian politicians. However in a confrontation with Descalzi he stood by some allegations. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285576703713124354
81/ Armanna claimed that Descalzi knew that the OPL 245 payment was going to a shell company called Petrol Services, suspected to be a scheme for diverting kickbacks. The prosecutor says the confrontation had a weird vibe.
82/ The prosecutor describes how in 2017 they found messages between Armanna and a lawyer acting for Mr Gaboardi, who is implicated in a scheme involving a Sicilian prosecutor convicted of corruption after he interfered with criminal investigations.
83/ De Pasquale describes how Armanna admitted to the Milan court that he was approached in 2016 by an Eni manager Claudio Granata, on behalf of Eni's CEO Descalzi asking him to withdraw allegations against Descalzi.
84/ The prosecutor describes how Armanna told the court Granata offered to find him work in exchange for changing his testimony. The prosecutor calls this a clear attempt to interfere with a witness in this case.
85/ The prosecutor asks rhetorically if Armanna is to be believed? The prosecution aimed to show the truth through the testimony of other witnesses that the court declined to hear but the documents show Armanna did soften his evidence against Descalzi. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285580300572131328
86/ The prosecutor says that they believe that Claudio Descalzi and Eni did try to interfere with the trial.
87/ The prosecutor says that Armanna did receive money from the OPL 245 deal, though his real role in the deal is unclear. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285581607257202688
88/ The prosecutor points out Armanna's links to senior intelligence agents. Eni termed Armanna their project leader on OPL 245. The first offer, through Obi's company, said "Please refer exclusively to Mr. Armanna" https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285582463444701184
89/ The prosecutor says Armanna as the project leader had a clear role according to the company's procedures, he was to the be focal point for all communications on the deal, leading and coordinating all units. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285583372291637251
90/ The prosecutor asks whether Armanna's links to intelligence agencies was the reason he had this key job on OPL 245 rather than other senior Eni managers. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285583841843912707
91/ The prosecutor describes how Armanna had previously worked in Eni's procurement division, high risk for corruption, was a friend of fellow defendant Luigi Bisignani,
a political power broker who came to his wedding.
92/ The prosecutor points out Armanna was sent to the first meeting with Obi and Etete, but being left out of other meetings like the dinner between Descalzi and Etete, or the meeting between Casula and Etete after Etete rejected Eni's offer in October 2010.
93/ The prosecutor outlines how Armanna was well informed, he was not friendly with Obi. But Obi was able to text other senior Eni managers, Casula and Descalzi to ask for meetings and unusual hours of the day. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285586241354899457
94/ The prosecutor explains Descalzi seemingly didn't want to say no to Obi. Eni managers met with Shell to convince them to pay more so Obi would get paid.
95/ De Pasquale points out that Eni had an alternative broker with Etete, former Eni manager Akinmade. Armanna was paying for Akinmade's accommodation in Paris during negotiations. Eni went after Armanna for his expenses claims.
96/ The prosecutor explains that Armanna is the one Nigeria's Attorney General called during negotiations. At the key Nov 2010 meeting when Malabu agrees the $1.1bn, Armanna goes for Eni, Etete is represented by Akinmade, Abubakar and Orijako. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285588788945838081
97/ The prosecutor explains Armanna attended other key negotiations and even following the attempted transfer of the $1.1bn to Petrol Services in Switzerland. Descalzi acknowledged Armanna's role throughout the deal. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285589990941040640
98/ The prosecutor says that what they found during their investigation shows most of what Armanna has said is plainly true and confirmed by other sources. Etete didn't like Armanna because he resented money going to the Italians out of the deal.
99/ The prosecutor points to the meeting that Armanna says took place between Descalzi and Goodluck Jonathan, says Descalzi admitted it in his interrogation and a Shell document and messages seem to confirm this, but Eni denies the meeting took place.
100/ The prosecutor points to Armanna knowing about the role of Aliyu Abubakar in the OPL 245 deal, the middleman who later transferred over $500m from the deal into cash.
101/ The prosecutor points to the testimony of Shell's manager Ian Craig who said Shell didn't know the destination of their payment, but points out the contracts clearly route the money to Malabu. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285596244891631616
102/ The prosecutor says that Armanna did know that Nigerian politicians had interests in the OPL 245 money, he knew Etete was a convicted money launderer, he admitted he thought Alison Madueke was greedy and that Adoke had acted as Etete's lawyer in the past.
103/ The prosecutor says that Shell's documents show they clearly knew Nigerian officials expected to make money from the OPL 245 deal, Eni's Descalzi and Casula knew too. He says no Attorney General would broker such a deal, including middleman's fee without a personal interest.
104/ The prosecutor says Obi spoke openly to Eni managers Descalzi and Casula about his links to Nigerian officials, Adoke, Gusau and "Auntie" Diezani Alison Madueke in an attempt to build his credibility.
105/ The prosecutor says half a billion dollars was turned into cash from the deal. Payments went to Adoke, Bayo Ojo and Umar Bature, General Gusau's son in law proving cash went to public officials from the deal.
106/ The prosecutor now tackles the attempted transfer of the OPL 245 money from JP Morgan in London to BSI Lugano in Switzerland which refused the transaction. Eni managers knew about the transfers. Shell too kept tabs on where the money was. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285600616786677760
107/ The prosecutor describes how Armanna was fired and scapegoated by Eni, blew the whistle, was enticed and attempted to be blackmailed to withdraw his claims but finally understood that telling the true story of OPL 245 was the best way. https://twitter.com/Recommon/status/1285602450980966400
108/ The prosecutor tackles the contradictory evidence from two Nigerian secret service agents, Victor Nwafor who said he knew nothing and Isaac Eke. Eke told the court he had not told the truth in his letter to the court. Eke is now being prosecuted he says.
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