JP Morgan, fighting off a $875m payment court case, said that the UK anti-money laundering unit, Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), gave authorisation for the transfer of $875 million to accounts linked to Dan Etete, a former Nigerian oil Minister in the controversial Malabu scandal.
Details by an online newpapaper said the Malabu deal, involving OPL245, has Shell; Italian oil company, ENI; Etete; former president Goodluck Jonathan and his then oil Minister, Dieziani Alison-Madueke all fingered in the deal.
The shocking revelation about Soca is contained in High Court documents filed by JP Morgan to counter the massive claim for damages filed by Nigeria in 2017.
THEWILL recalls that the Nigerian government, in November 2017, sued the bank for $875 million (N315 billion) in London courts over its alleged failure to block payments made from the massive Malabu oil deal that is subject to a string of international corruption investigations.
The court claims were made as part of a wider drive by President Muhammadu Buhari to recoup massive sums believed to have been siphoned out of Nigeria by previous regimes.
The Nigerian government argued that JP Morgan had been “grossly negligent” when it was banker to a previous government alleging that there was an “abuse of the banking system” and therefore, demanded that the bank repay $875 million it paid out to Etete, plus interest.
But in its counter claim, JP Morgan claimed that it repeatedly sought consent from Soca and instead of being told to block the transfers, it was given the green light to proceed.
The green lights to make the payments in two tranches in 2011 and 2013 were reportedly given by Soca at the time the UK’s main anti-corruption unit was reporting to the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, now Prime Minister.