After 13 years, Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to pay $15.5 million compensation to settle a court case over its alleged part in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni leaders in the Niger Delta. Much of the backstory can be found here.
Now I’m no judge (not yet, anyway), but $15 million doesn’t seem a lot for a firm with 2008 revenues of $458 billion. Michael Goldhaber, who does know something about law, describes the sum as ‘nuisance value’ from Shell’s point of view.
Yet the fact that Shell settled the day before the trial was due to begin is indicative of the firm’s distaste for either the publicity that court proceedings would create, or the culpability that might be uncovered. (more…)