Shell Plc and Eni SpA won dismissal of a $1 billion U.K. lawsuit brought against them over allegations they knew about bribes in a Nigerian oil deal. The ruling is a victory for the oil companies, which have been clouded by accusations in a years-old dispute over exploration rights to a tract in the Gulf of Guinea called Oil Prospecting License 245 that has spread to courtrooms throughout Europe.
The Nigerian government claims that money the companies paid to acquire the oil exploration license in 2011 was diverted to bribes and kickbacks. It says Shell and Eni are partly responsible for the behavior of Nigerian officials who used a $1.1 billion payment to acquire the oil block for personal enrichment. Shell and Eni have denied any wrongdoing.