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The role of the three NGOs in OPL 245

Re:Common, The Corner House and Global Witness and the investigations into the acquisition of the block by Eni and Shell. The outcome of petitions.

In March 2013, the Italian NGO (non-governmental organisation) Re:Common, the British NGO The Corner House, the British/American NGO Global Witness, and Dotun Oloko, a Nigerian citizen based in the UK filed petitions with the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US, as well as with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in London, UK, requesting an investigation into the acquisition of the OPL 245 block by the oil companies Eni and Shell.

In September 2013, the same NGOs sent the petition to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Milan, with the same request.


Outcome of the petitions

The outcome of each of the petitions filed by the three NGOs with the international supervisory authorities is described below. Documents can be accessed and the relevant paperwork downloaded in each section.

The petition filed with the US Department of Justice (DoJ): dismissed

On 1 October 2019, more than six years after the filing of the petition (in March 2013) with the DoJ by the NGOs, the DoJ closed its investigations under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in relation to the ‘Nigeria and Algeria’ proceedings, declaring it had not found any reason to continue with the inquiry.  The DoJ’s letter and Eni’s press release are provided below.


Letter from the US Department of Justice (DoJ) Criminal Division, dated 27 September 2019

The Petition filed with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in London, UK: no wrongdoing found

The investigations carried out by the MPS did not reveal any criminal conduct by persons with links to Eni. This was confirmed by Jonathan Benton, then head of the UK International Corruption Unit and now a cooperator of several NGOs, who appeared as a witness for the public prosecution at the Court of Milan in October 2018. The testimony of Jonathan Benton is provided below. 


Testimony of Jonathan Benton, former head of the UK International Corruption Unit (2018)

The petition filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission

On 22 April 2020, separately from the end of the Algeria investigation, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) informed Eni that, based on the available information, it closed its investigation into the company, including inquiries into the OPL 245 operation and Eni’s activities in Congo, with no further action being taken. The SEC’s letter and Eni’s press release are available below. 


Letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission