An Italian court in Milan, Italy has accepted as evidence, electronic mails involving former Nigerian Attorney General of the Federation, Adoke Bello, and JPMorganChase bank officials in the Malabu oil deal.
The court prosecutors acquired the evidence from the United Kingdom authorities where it emerged that the former AGF under former President Goodluck Jonathan sent instructions of transfer of OPL245 $1.1billion paid by Eni and Shell from the email address of Mr. Aliyu Abubakar, known as “Mr. Corruption”.
The Milan court denied Adoke’s claim that the email was not his.
The international corruption case against Eni, Shell and some officials of the companies resumed in the Milan court on Wednesday.
Public prosecutors responded to conclusions by the defence lawyers from previous hearings.
The trial is about to come to an end and a court judgment is expected on March 17, 2021.
Despite opposition by the oil companies at the last sitting of the court, the Milan court has accepted as evidence relevant in the trial, emails involving former Nigerian Attorney General, Adoke Bello, and JPMorganChase bank officials.
Milan public prosecutor, Fabio De Pasquale, said, “Internal email of senior compliance officer at JPMorgan denies Eni’s claim that the bank got a green light for the transfer of OPL245 money by SOCA, the UK financial intelligence authority preventing money laundering.”
Adoke had last week issued a statement, accusing the Italian prosecutor of fabricating evidence against him.
He said, “I have read with dismay reports of the attempt by the Italian prosecutor to tender fabricated evidence concerning me in the on-going OPL 245 proceedings before a Milan court to which I am not a party.
“I wish to categorically declare that the so-called email is a figment of imagination of the Italian prosecutors.”
According to the evidence presented by the prosecutor, the former AGF shared with JPMorgan an unofficial copy of the resolution’s agreements of OPL245, then signed by the Nigerian government of Nigeria with Eni, Shell and Malabu of Dan Etete.
Lawyer Lucio Lucia, representing the Republic of Nigeria as civil party, also responded to objections of defences, saying, “Contrary to the claim that Eni’s then Chief Executive Officer, Scaroni, interrupted negotiations for OPL245, emails show that current CEO Descalzi was instead pushing to go ahead.”
The court was adjourned till February 24 when Eni and Shell managers and companies’ defence lawyers would have their final response to prosecutors and the federal republic.
Officials said that might be the last hearing before the verdict expected on March 17.