Oil majors, Shell and Eni are struggling to get off the hook over alleged corruption in Nigeria. That has so far been unsuccessful.

Now, they must go on to answer to the alleged corruption in Nigeria after Italy’s Supreme Court threw out an appeal from the two companies and four former Shell managers to stymie the trial.

Recall that the long-running graft case revolves around the 2011 purchase by Eni and Shell of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oilfield for about $1.3 billion. The trial kicked off last month, with the next hearing set for June 20.

The appeal was aimed at reversing the trial to the preliminary hearing stage due to what it said were procedural errors, but the court decided the appeal was inadmissible.

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Nine current and former executives or contractors, including Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi, have been accused by Italian prosecutors of paying bribes to secure the licence to explore OPL-245. The field holds an estimated 9 billion barrels of oil but has never entered production.

All deny wrongdoing, as do Shell and Eni. If found guilty, those on trial could face jail.

A Shell spokeswoman said on Wednesday: “Based on our review of the Prosecutor of Milan’s file and all of the information and facts available to us, we do not believe that there is a basis to convict Shell or any of its former employees.”

As a rule, the Supreme Court does not comment on its decisions.

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