March 5, 2018 / 11:28 AM / 15 days 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.

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.

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

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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