A Milan judge on Thursday sentenced two men to four years in prison in the first ruling of a corruption case involving oil giants Eni and Shell in Nigeria, a judicial source said.

The judge also ordered the seizure of millions of dollars and Swiss francs from the pair, who acted as go-betweens in the attribution of Nigerian oil exploration rights worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Nigerian Emeka Obi and Italian Gianluca Di Nardo had requested an accelerated trial, which took place behind closed doors and allowed for lighter penalties if they were found guilty.

The main trial of Eni and Shell for corruption opened in Milan in the spring. Both oil companies deny any wrongdoing. Italian magistrates suspect the two oil groups used bribes to obtain rights in 2011 to OPL245, an offshore oil block estimated to hold nine billion barrels of crude, for $1.3 billion (1.1 billion euros).

Source: Daily Mail