Friday, 19 January 2018

FG Drags JP Morgan To Court Over Malabu Oilfield Deal, Claim $875m

The Federal Government has filed a claim against a United States lender, JP Morgan Chase, for more than $875 m, accusing the bank of negligence in transferring funds from a disputed 2011 oilfield deal to a company controlled by a former Nigerian minister of petroleum resources. According to report, a spokeswoman for JP Morgan dismissed the accusation on Thursday, saying the firm considers the allegations made in the claim to be unsubstantiated and without merit.

The suit filed in a British court relates to a purchase of the offshore OPL 245 oilfield in Nigeria by oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in 2011. At the core of the case is a $1.3 bn payment from Shell and Eni to secure the block that the lawsuit said was deposited into a Federal Government's escrow account managed by JP Morgan. The lawsuit said JP Morgan then received a request from the finance ministry workers to transfer more than $800 m of the funds to accounts controlled by the previous operator of the block, Malabu Oil and Gas, controlled by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete.

The lawsuit said that JP Morgan then transferred the funds to two accounts controlled by Etete, without sufficient due diligence to make sure the money did not leave accounts controlled by the Federal Government. All efforts to reach either Etete or Malabu for comments as at the time failed.

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