Europe

Nigeria seizes $1.2 billion oil bloc in Shell, Eni scandal

A court document shows Nigeria is seizing back one of Africa's richest oil blocs and could prosecute petroleum giants Shell and Eni in a corruption scandal that has drawn investigators from the United States, Italy, France, Switzerland and Holland.

Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says Friday that a Federal High Court has ceded control of Oil Prospecting License 245 to the federal government while it investigates and prosecutes suspects in the "Malabu Oil scam."

The commission's petition says Dutch-British Shell and Italian Agip — now Eni — bought the bloc knowing the transaction was "fraught with fraud" and that the $1.2 billion payment to former petroleum minister Dan Etete and his cronies was a bribe. The state oil company got only $210 million from the deal.