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JP Morgan counters bribery claims against Adoke in UK court

written by Bella Palmer
uk-court

The federal government is seeking compensation of $1.7 billion from JP Morgan, accusing the bank of ‘gross negligence’ in transferring $801 million to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd in 2011

JP Morgan Chase Bank has countered claims by the Nigerian government in a UK court that Mohammed Bello Adoke, former Attorney-General of the federation, took bribes in the OPL 245 deal of 2011.

The federal government is seeking compensation of $1.7 billion from JP Morgan, accusing the bank of ‘gross negligence’ in transferring $801 million to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd in 2011 when ‘it ought to have known that it was a fraudulent and corrupt scheme’.

Nigeria is trying to prove that the legal agreements that led to the sale of OPL 245 by Malabu, the original allottees, to Shell and ENI was mired in corruption with particular focus on Adoke who gave the legal advice that led to the resolution of the dispute over the oil block.

JP Morgan, in its opening submissions for trial at the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court, said: No court, civil or criminal, in any jurisdiction has ever found that there was a fraudulent and corrupt scheme as now alleged.

On the contrary, the Italian criminal proceedings in which the defendants included many of the alleged participants in the scheme, including Etete, Shell, Eni, and various current or former employees of Shell and Eni resulted in all of the accused being acquitted of all, it said.

When criminal proceedings were launched against Adoke in 2016 in Nigeria, he was successful in obtaining an order from the Federal High Court declaring that his involvement in the negotiation, execution and implementation of the Resolution Agreements ‘was in furtherance of the lawful directives/ approvals of the President in the exercise of his executive powers’ and that he could not therefore be held personally liable in respect of the same.

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