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Former Afren CEO Osman Shahenshah. Image courtesy of Afren.

Two former executives of UK-based Afren will pay the company $20 million to settle a dispute tied to unauthorized payments.

Former CEO Osman Shahenshah and former COO Shahid Ullah were axed in October due to “gross misconduct” after Afren discovered the two men received unauthorized payments from third parties.

An external audit uncovered improper payments connected to a $400 million loan Afren gave to Nigeria-based Oriental Energy Resources in 2013.

Auditors found that Shahenshah and Ullah had Oriental pay $45 million to British Virgin Islands-based Ntiti Limited to facilitate the loans.

Ntiti, controlled by both men, used the Oriental payments to dole out $17.1 million in bonuses to Shahenshah and Ullah.

Shahenshah and Ullah will pay a combined $17.1 million in cash to cover the unauthorized payments along with an additional $3 million for the costs Afren incurred during the review.

As part of the settlement, Afren agreed to not pursue legal proceedings against Shahenshah and Ullah for the payments.