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30 March 2021

Bribery & Corruption team successfully act in Italian bribery prosecution

We successfully represented Guy Colegate, a former employee of a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, in a significant corruption trial in Italy. 

This concluded on 17 March 2021 when Mr Colegate and all other corporate and individual defendants were acquitted by the Milan court of all the charges against them. On behalf of a panel of three judges, Chief Judge Tremolada said that the companies – Shell and Eni – and 13 individuals charged in the case had been acquitted as there was no case to answer.

Guy Colegate: “The team at Charles Russell Speechlys provided me with an exemplary service throughout one of the most difficult and stressful periods of my life. Their clear strategy, adaptability and impressive teamwork with my Italian team throughout the trial gave me confidence that they would achieve this outcome. I am delighted with the result.”

The trial, spanning three years and 74 hearings, and involving 15 defendants, saw the Italian Public Prosecutor call for custodial sentences against a number of past and present employees from both companies, including our client.  

The defendants were alleged to have engaged in international bribery and corruption when entering into a 2011 settlement of various disputes concerning the rights to a deepwater oil block off the coast of Nigeria.

The result has received widespread media coverage from publications including The Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist who referred to it as ‘probably the most important corruption-related verdict in the history of the oil industry.

The team worked closely on this case with local Milan counsel, Giuseppe Bianchi and Nicoletta Parvis, as well as other firms including Debevoise & Plimpton, Wilkie Farr & Gallagher, Slaughter & May, Herbert Smith Freehills and Paul Hastings (who represented Shell and the other former Shell employees).

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