The federal government has reportedly sued JP Morgan Chase for $875 million over funds paid for the contentious oil prospecting licence (OPL) 245.
The government has accused JP Morgan of gross negligence in transferring part of the $1.3 billion payment made by Shell and Eni to secure the oilfield deal from Malabu Oil and Gas, a company is controlled by Dan Etete, a former petroleum minister.
According to Reuters, the lawsuit said the request sent to JP Morgan to transfer $800 million to accounts owned by Malabu emanated from finance ministry workers.
The federal government, in the suit, said the bank should have taken substantial precautions “or at least suspected” before transferring the said funds.
The filling said: “If the defendant acted with reasonable care and skill and/or conducted reasonable due diligence it would or should have known or at least suspected … that it was being asked to transfer funds to third parties who were seeking to misappropriate the funds from the claimant and/or that there was a significant risk that this was the case.”
The suit was said to have been filed in a British court in November.
Controversies, lawsuits and allegations have trailed the sale of the oilfield.
Out of the $1.3 billion paid by Shell and Eni for the block, only $210 million went to federal government as signature bonus.
Etete, whose company received the rest, was petroleum minister in 1998.
TheCable’s Petrobarometer recently reported on confidential internal documents of Shell which suggest that the company capitalised on the 2011 presidential election to secure a “cheap” deal over the sale of OPL 245.
In October 2017, the federal government announced the recovery of $85 million from the United Kingdom as part of funds allegedly looted from the Malabu deal.