Several organisations, including SOMO, have urged the Dutch Minister of Justice and Security, Mr. Grapperhaus, to avoid seeking a (potential) settlement with Shell in what could be the largest corruption case ever in the oil industry. According to the organisations it is in the public’s interest that Shell will be prosecuted in order to provide insight in why and how powerful corporations are involved in cases such as these.
The case involves Shell’s acquisition of a Nigerian oilfield called OPL 245. Together with the Italian company ENI, it paid 1.3 billion dollars of which a large share disappeared in the pockets of Nigerian officials. Shell and ENI knew about this and are currently prosecuted for this in Italy. The Public Prosecuter is currently investigating whether prosecution is warranted. However, it will have to await a decision by the Examining Judge regarding the internal documents that were seized by the Public Prosecutor. The question here is whether the documents are permissible as evidence in a lawsuit.
In support of and building upon this case, SOMO and Friends of the Earth Netherlands revealed in a publication how Shell used a bilateral investment treaty between the Netherlands and Nigeria to secure the rights of OPL 245 on highly favourable terms.
The letter to Mr. Grappenhaus was signed by Amnesty Nederland, Both ENDS, Code Rood, Ecological Defence Integrity, Fossielvrij NL, Fossil Free Culture, SOMO and TNI.