Nigeria Government asked a court in Milan to order Royal Dutch Shell and Eni to pay the sum of $1.092 billion as an immediate advance payment for damages in the Malabu oil scandal, one of the oil industry’s biggest-ever corruption scandals.

During the hearing into the corruption allegation linked to the acquisition of the OPL 245 offshore field by Eni and Shell, lawyer to the Federal Government, asked for advance payment ahead of a more comprehensive damages package to be decided by the court at a later date.

The case involves the 2011 acquisition of oil block prospecting license by Eni and Shell, following the payment of $1.3 billion to the Nigerian government for the OPL 245 offshore field. However, it was alleged that about $1.1 billion of that amount ended up in the account of Malabu Oil and Gas, which was owned by a former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, and was used to pay political bribes.

The prosecutors also alleged that Dan Etete, apart from the politicians, paid some middlemen and then half of it to himself.

Shell says that the 2011 agreement was a settlement of long-standing litigation following the previous allocation of the oil block by the Federal Government to Shell and Malabu.

It can be recalled that in July, prosecutors asked that the Chief Executive Officer of Eni. Claudio Descalzi be jailed and also for Eni and Shell to be fined together with some of their former and present executives.

In addition, the prosecutors also requested for the confiscation of the sum of $1.092 billion from all the defendants in the case, an amount which is the equivalent of the bribes that was alleged to have been paid out.

The lawyer representing Nigeria, Lucio Lucia, on Wednesday, joined in requesting for the seizure of that amount.

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