For the past thirteen years Shell has tried to shake off allegations that work by the company led to the executions of nine Ogoni activists. The suit alleged that Shell encouraged Nigeria's military regime to crack down on Ogoni activists that were threatening oil production in the Nigeria Delta. This eventually led to the torture and execution of nine activists.
In April the company was told that the suit would finally go to trial. Though not admitting any wrong doing, rather than going to court Shell agreed to pay $15.5 million to have the suit dropped This will be used to compensate families of civilians maimed or hanged by the regime and to create a development trust for the Ogoni people from the Niger Delta.
Though $15.5 million is not much money to Shell the negative publicity could be especially harmful. As an example, after the Exxon Valdez disaster there was such negative publicity that Exxon shipping was renamed the Sea River Shipping Company to dissociate from the disaster. This isn't as large as the Exxon disaster, but ties to a military regime and decision to settle out of court rather than to clear the company name could lead to further protests and movements against the organization.