The Dutch Public Prosecutor has dropped its investigation into Shell’s role in acquiring OPL 245 in Nigeria, following a similar move from Italy earlier this week.
The prosecutor’s office said it had launched an investigation in early 2016, following a request from Italy. The Dutch prosecutor said it had dismissed the criminal case following the decision from Milan on July 19.
The statement said the criminal investigation had not been completed and that it had not summoned Shell to appear yet.
The final judgment from Italy “makes it impossible for the Dutch Public Prosecutor to issue a summons because of the ne bis in idem principle”, the statement said. This means a suspect who has been irrevocably acquitted cannot be tried again for the same offence.
“We welcome today’s decision, which marks an end to the criminal investigation in The Netherlands,” said Shell.
“The Milan Public Prosecutor acknowledged that there was no evidence of a corrupt agreement or corrupt payments, that this case should end because it has no foundations, and that the defendants have the right to see the end of criminal proceedings, having endured seven years of suffering.”
Shell said there was no case for the company, or its former employees, to answer on the OPL 245 deal. Furthermore, it said, “this case should have never been brought”.
The US closed its investigation into the Nigerian affair in 2020. Nigeria is continuing to seek restitution at home in a case against Eni and Shell, after failing in the UK.