The Switzerland government has blocked bank accounts linked to the Malabu Oil deal. The move was announced by the office of the Swiss Attorney-General on Monday. It said it had confiscated assets and shared information with Italian authorities after the request of public prosecutors from Milan.
The trial of the executives, including former Eni’s Claudio Descalzi, and his predecessor, Paolo Scaroni, was originally slated for March but was moved to May after it was transferred to Milan. Nigerian and Italian investigators accuse officials of both Eni and Shell of shady financial deals to secure a licence for the lucrative OPL 245, believed to be the most lucrative oil field in the whole of West Africa.
Eni and Shell, who were also listed as corporate defendants in the case, have denied any wrongdoing in the matter.
Newsbreak.ng reports that the OPL 245 contains an estimated 9 billion barrels of crude oil. In 1998, Dan Etete, then Minister of Petroleum Resources, awarded the oilfield to Malabu Oil and Gas for $20 million. The company was later discovered to have no assets as well as employees and was traced to Etete.