Arcadia Petroleum Limited and its Chief Executive, Mr. Peter Bosworth are recipients of millions of British Pounds from a $1.3 billion Malabu oil deal, according to the Times, a leading newspaper in the United Kingdom.
The reports claimed that multiple court documents identified and his trading firm, Arcadia Petroleum as among the ultimate recipients of funds from the allegedly corrupt 2011 deal in which Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, the Italian company, acquired a prized offshore oil block.
Already, according to the report, the deal for the OPL 245 oil licence is the subject of criminal proceedings in Milan.
It claimed that two middlemen “have been convicted in one case and there is a corruption trial against Shell and Eni, in which both deny wrongdoing. The deal is also the subject of civil action in the UK, where Nigeria has filed a High Court claim against the two oil companies.”
The report said Bosworth and Arcadia Petroleum “have been named in all three cases as having together received $16 million originating from the deal. Nigeria has said it is investigating the reasons for the payments and is understood to be considering action to try to recoup the money.
However, the report said Arcadia Petroleum and Bosworth “are not parties in any of the litigation and both deny any wrongdoing. A lawyer for Mr Bosworth said that no proceedings had been brought against him in relation to OPL 245.
“There is little publicly available information about Mr Bosworth and no photographs. He joined Arcadia Petroleum in 1992 and rose to become chief executive in 2000. The commodities trading group is owned by John Fredriksen, a Norwegian billionaire.
“Bosworth left Arcadia Petroleum in 2013 and has since been sued by the company over separate allegations that he and another senior executive jointly perpetrated a $335 million fraud against it. Both men deny the allegations. The case continues.
“A huge cache of leaked emails and payment records compiled by Italian prosecutors reveals links between Bosworth, Arcadia Petroleum and former Minister of Petroleum, Chief Dan Etete and convicted money launderer at the heart of the 2011 deal.
“The documents, obtained by Finance Uncovered and seen by The Times, suggest that Bosworth advised Etete on matters relating to OPL 245 and that Arcadia paid for flights and hotels for Mr Etete for several years spanning the 2011 deal.
“The documents also appear to show that some of the money Arcadia received from the deal was set against Mr Bosworth’s debts to the company after it purchased a “sumptuous” Swiss château on his behalf.”
Bosworth said he had “no reason to believe anything was either unlawful or corrupt” in his dealings with Mr Etete. He admits giving Mr Etete some “informal advice”, but said he was “not involved in the OPL 245 transaction”.
OPL 245 is said to be one of the most oil-rich licences in Africa. In 1998, Etete used his ministerial role to award the rights to the block to Malabu Oil and Gas. Nigeria claims that this was corrupt as Etete controlled Malabu.
Shell bought an interest in OPL 245 in 2001 before becoming embroiled in a decade of legal wrangling with Malabu and the Nigerian government over its ownership. This culminated in the 2011 deal in which Shell and Eni paid $1.3 billion to the Nigerian government to secure ownership of the block and resolve disputes.
More than $800 million of this was transferred on to Malabu and it is alleged that some of this was paid in bribes to figures including Goodluck Jonathan, the former Nigerian president, who denies the claims.
Nigeria’s claim in London, filed this month, seeks to recover money paid in bribes and seeks damages over the “fraudulent and corrupt scheme.”