Jason Sugarman QC of Foundry Chambers with the assistance of Rod Stone OBE of RS Legal Strategy Limited instructed by Dan Bodle, Marija Brackovic and Claudio Giammarino of Dentons (London and Milan) acted as an independent expert in the ENI/Shell corruption trial in Milan, Italy. An Italian court has cleared two global oil giants, Eni and Shell, over allegations of corruption in Nigeria.
The case concerned the $1.3bn (£936m) purchase of an offshore oil block in 2011. Prosecutors had alleged that the majority of the money was used to bribe Nigerian politicians and officials. But the court in Milan said the two firms, and 13 defendants including past and current executives, had no case to answer. Both companies and the accused managers have repeatedly denied wrongdoing. Their acquittal on Wednesday came more than three years after the trial began, and there have been dozens of hearings in the time since. Jason Sugarman QC’s report focused on the UK disclosure and consent regime as set out in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 ("POCA 2002"), as was in place between 2011 and 2013. The detailed report addressed the following areas:
(a) the circumstances in which a regulated person is obliged to make a disclosure to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (hereafter "SOCA") and now called the National Crime Agency (hereafter "NCA") at the relevant time;
(b) the process by which disclosures, also referred to as a Suspicious Activity Report (hereafter "SAR"), were made;
(c) the possible ramifications of a regulated person failing to make a disclosure or SAR when required to do so;
(d) the operation of consent under section 335 and section 336 POCA 2002, including the relevance of the notice period and moratorium period;
(e) the effect of receiving [or not receiving consent];
(f) an understanding of how SOCA treated intelligence collected under the disclosure and consent regime during the relevant period and its cooperation with other law enforcement bodies.
(g) analysis of document disclosed by the UK court’s concerning ENI
The report was accepted by the Judge without the need for live evidence. The long-running trial in Milan, Italy concerned Royal Dutch Shell, Italy’s Eni and several of the energy groups’ current and former executives were cleared of corruption charges on Wednesday in a long-running Italian case over a 2011 oil deal in Nigeria. After dozens of hearings over three years, Judge Marco Tremolada said he had acquitted all 15 defendants because “a crime was not committed”.