JPMorgan, a United States Bank has asked a London Court of Appeal to dismiss an $875 million lawsuit brought against it by the Nigerian Government.
The Court rejected the pleas, upholding the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to sue the bank.
The Case: Nigeria is suing JPMorgan for negligence in transferring funds from a disputed 2011 oilfield deal to a company controlled by the country’s former oil minister.
Even though the Court is yet to determine the veracity of Nigeria’s claim, it said it found no reason to the halt legal proceeding against JPMorgan.
“I have formed no view as to the overall merits of the claim but there is nothing in terms of the depository agreement which entitles Morgan Chase to bring the proceeding to an end at this stage,” one of the justices said.
Responding to the judgement, the bank said that it acted on orders by government officials at that point in time to transfer money realized from the sale of OPL245 oilfield in Nigeria to the accounts of Malabu Oil and Gas owned by Dan Etete, erstwhile oil minister.
What you should know: The case is one of several revolving around a $1.3 billion payment from oil companies Shell and Eni to secure offshore oilfield OPL 245.
The main trial related to OPL 245 is being held in Milan.
Backstory: In 2011, Royal Dutch Shell, along with Italian oil giant Eni, signed a $1.3 billion deal to purchase drilling rights at the OPL 245 deep-water offshore field in Nigeria in 2011 – home to 560 million barrels of oil. However, $1.1 billion of the fee they paid for the OPL 245 license did not get to Nigeria’s national coffers but was transferred to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company controlled by former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete, a convicted money launderer.