LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell <RDSa.AS> expects a landmark corruption trial over a Nigerian oil deal to last many months, warning staff of continued critical media coverage in the $1.3 billion case, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters. Shell and Italian peer Eni <ENI.M> are defendants in a Milan bribery trial, now in its early stages, focusing on the 2011 purchase of Nigeria's OPL 245 offshore oilfield for about $1.3 billion. "We do not yet know how long the trial will last but expect this to be many months, continuing into next year," Ching said in the Sept. 20 memo, provided to Reuters by John Donovan, who runs the independent royaldutchshellplc.com website. "As a result, I appreciate that you may find yourself having to respond to questions from relatives and friends. You can find more information about the case, which may also help with those discussions, on the OPL 245 intranet web page." "Based on our review of the evidence available to us, we maintain there is no basis on which to convict Shell or its former employees. We will vigorously defend our position and believe that the trial judges will conclude that there is no case for us to answer," Ching wrote.
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