The Federal Republic of Nigeria is claiming the US bank was negligent in its conduct of the transfer
Nigeria and and investment bank JP Morgan Chase are headed for court after the West African country filed a hefty $875 million suit for negligence according to Reuters.
According to the report, Nigeria is seeking compensation for a botched transfer to a company headed by the country’s former oil minister, Dan Etete.
The suit filed in British courts relates to a purchase of the offshore OPL 245 oilfield in Nigeria by oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in 2011. According to Nigeria, JP Morgan Chase transferred $800 million to accounts controlled by Malabu Oil and Gas, a company controlled by Etete without recourse to Nigeria's ministry of finance.
JP Morgan has dismissed the claims according to Reuters, who quoted a spokeswoman of the company.
The filing seen by Reuters was made in London in November on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and says that JP Morgan acted with gross negligence by allowing the transfer of the money without further checks.
It said JP Morgan should have known that, under Nigerian law, the money should never have been transferred to an outside company.
“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 filing said.
Nigeria has struggled with several of its oil ministers siphoning state resources into personal accounts.