Nigeria Wins As Court Orders JPMorgan To Disclose Documents.
Nigeria has won its request for more documents from JPMorgan Chase ahead of a trial in which the US bank is accused of enabling the misappropriation of nearly $900 million in state funds. According to the Financial Times, the UK High Court yesterday granted Nigeria’s request for records from top US executives and compliance officers involved in signing off $875 million in payments relating to the controversial OPL 245 oil licence deal between 2011 and 2013.
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Nigeria applauded the decision. JP Morgan should give a “clear and unambiguous account of exactly how the decisions to make these huge payments were made when it was on notice that to pay out risked its customer, Nigeria, being defrauded,” according to a Federal Government representative.
“Justice will be sought for the people of Nigeria, who will be pleased that the trial will begin early next year,” the court said. The court ordered JP Morgan to conduct a number of searches. High-ranking bank executives Pamela Johnson, Lester Pataki, and John Gibbons are among those named to comply with the order.
JP Morgan must include the documentation and pay the costs by July 20. Nigeria’s complaint focuses on three payments: two for $801.5 million in 2011 and a third for $74.2 million in 2013. These funds were transferred from Nigeria’s bank account to Malabu Oil and Gas.
Dan Etete, Nigeria’s former oil minister, is related to the latter company. Nigeria has requested that JP Morgan pay it $875 million plus interest. According to Nigeria, the bank must have been aware that the payments were potentially fraudulent. Despite the bank’s reservations about the 2011 payments, it went ahead and paid the third tranche in 2013. The case in Nigeria tries to figure out what JP Morgan knew – or believed.
The bank’s EMEA database has been the focus of searches so far, rather than its US records. JP Morgan was clearly concerned about the first round of payments, which occurred in 2011. Two attempts to transfer the money were unsuccessful, as the recipient banks rejected them. In addition, the bank filed a variety of suspicious activity reports (SARs) in the United States and the United Kingdom.
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