JP Morgan Chase Bank, who was taken to court by the Nigerian government over the fraudulent $1 billion Malabu oil deal in 2011, has released fresh documents indicting a former Attorney-General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.
The bank released the documents to a United Kingdom court, the High Court of Justice, Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, after investigation was done by the Special Fraud Office, London, under Director Lisa Osofosky.
SaharaReporters learnt that the documents were released based on an European Investigation Order (EIO) which came from Milan, Italy, where the Nigerian government is in court over the $1 billion Malabu oil deal, in a suit where Eni, Shell, JP Morgan Chase Bank and others are defendants.
Six documents were released by the bank which included an electronic mail sent by Adoke on June 21, 2011.
The EIO was issued from Milan, Italy, to the UK to furnish it with details of the Malabu oil deals.
“The issuing state is Italy and the executing state is United Kingdom. The evidence should be obtained and sent to Italy by December 24, 2020, to allow the production of the document to the trial court in time for the hearing of the case, scheduled for January 20, 2021,” the EIO obtained by SaharaReporters partly reads.
The EIO states further, “The offence refers to the award of the petroleum licence denominated OPL 245 which took place in Nigeria in 2011 for which the price of $1,092,040,000 was paid. The prosecution believes that the award of the licence was the result of corrupt agreement and a large part of the sums paid was intended to be used for bribing Nigerian public officials.
“The award of OPL 245 was made though resolutions agreement dated April 29, 2011, between the government of Nigeria, Eni, Shell, and the vendor of the licence, Dan Etete. It is to note that Etete had awarded the licence to his company, Malabu Oil and Gas at the time when he was the Minister of Oil thus in blatant conflict of interest.
“The sum of $1,092,040,000 was transferred by NAE, a company in the Eni group to escrow account of JP Morgan Chase in the name of the Nigerian government.
“JP Morgan in turn after two unsuccessful attempts to send the money firstly to Switzerland and afterwards to Lebanon finally channelled the sum of about 800 million dollars to accounts in Nigeria controlled by one of the suspects, namely the former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete.
“The proceedings against Eni and Royal Dutch Shell plc and also against 13 individuals are in progress at the court of Milan for the offence of foreign bribery committed in Milan and elsewhere from Autumn 2009 till May 2, 2014.
“The Federal Government joined the proceedings as a damaged party and sought significant pecuniary compensation from the defendants at the final trial. Alongside the criminal proceedings, the Federal Government instituted a civil litigation against JP Morgan Chase before the UK High Court.”
SaharaReporters learnt that the EIO to the United Kingdom through the SFO made the documents, including electronic mails and agreements sent by Adoke in 2011, to be dug out.
“These were the documents submitted by the Italian prosecutor and introduction done in Italy. The email by Adoke, confirmation and transmission of the email was done by SFO, even though the documents were submitted by JPMorgan in the UK court as an argument to counter Nigeria’s action against the bank.
“The documents confirm that contrary to Adoke’s claim of forgery against the NGOs and Italian prosecutors, the documents emanated from JP Morgan and UK court,” a source familiar with the Malabu oil deal proceedings explained to SaharaReporters.
The case between JP Morgan Chase and the Nigerian government is still ongoing at the High Court of Justice, Business and Property Courts of England and Wales.
The UK court explained that the “claim arises in both contract and tort as a result of the banking relationship that was established in 2011 between the claimant acting through the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the defendant out of an abuse of the banking system and the manipulation of escrow arrangements to facilitate the transfer of funds to entities and persons who were not entitled to receive such the funds.
“The funds should have been held by the defendant for the benefit and/or to the order of the claimant had the defendant acted with the reasonable care and skill expected of a bank.
“The transfers and defendant’s breaches of duty; on or about May 23, 2011, the NAE confirmed to the defendant that the Federal Government of Nigeria had settled all claims and so instructed the defendant as an escrow agent to release the escrow amount and irrevocably transfer the escrow amount to the FG’s escrow account.
“On May 24, 2011, the sum of US $1,092,040,000 was deposited in the escrow account and this was the money received from Shell/Eni consortium. On the same day, the said sum of USD was transferred from the escrow account to the FG’s depository account. The transfer was authorised on behalf of the defendant by Luke Edy, Charles Lander and Greg Campbell.
“On May 25, 2011, apparently on the instructions of the Minster of Finance, Olusegun Aganga, but sent by a fax machine from Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja rather than through the Ministry of Finance, the defendant was instructed to transfer US $1,092,040,000 to Petrol Service Co AT Lugano in Switzerland under Account number A209798AA.
“The Petrol Service Co LP was a limited partnership in Canada and beneficially owned by an Italian national, Gianfranco Falcioni, who at the time was the Italian Honorary Vice Consul based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.”