JPMorgan Chase has asked a London court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Nigerian government that accuses the bank of failing to prevent $875 million in corrupt payments.
Bloomberg News reports that the bank said it got the correct approvals from Nigerian officials before transferring the funds to accounts controlled by a former oil minister who’s been convicted of money laundering, and that the government’s claim has no real prospect of success. After settling a controversial oil deal in 2011, the money was sent to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd., a firm controlled by Dan Etete.
The bank "had no duty to inquire into or investigate the validity or legality of the instructions it received," Rosalind Phelps, a lawyer for JPMorgan, said in court. "The only allegation that’s left is one of negligence."
Nigeria said in its submissions to court that JPMorgan was “on notice” and that the bank faced several “red flags” that should have caused it to block the payments. The contracts to explore the deep offshore waters of the Gulf of Guinea were tainted by corruption, Nigeria says.
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