March 5, 2018 / 11:28 AM / 7 months ago

Italy court postpones to May 14 trial of Eni, Shell over Nigeria

MILAN (Reuters) - An Italian court on Monday postponed to May 14 the start of a trial of Royal Dutch Shell and Eni executives over alleged corruption in Nigeria.

FILE PHOTO: Staff members work at the booth of Royal Dutch Shell at Gastech, the world's biggest expo for the gas industry, in Chiba, Japan, April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

The decision confirms what three sources had told Reuters on Friday. The trial was originally expected to start on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Eni's logo is seen in front of its headquarters in San Donato Milanese, near Milan, Italy, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

The case involves the 2011 purchase by Eni and Shell of Nigeria of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oilfield - one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks - for about $1.3 billion.

Milan prosecutors allege bribes were paid to win the license to explore the field, which has never entered into production.

All the accused have denied any wrongdoing.

A Milan judge ruled in December that the companies, along with present and past executives, would face trial.

Reporting by Manuela D'Alessandro; writing by Francesca Landini; editing by Agnieszka Flak

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