FG sues JP Morgan for $875m over transfer of OPL 245 funds to Etete

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The federal government is suing JP Morgan for $875 million (£660 million) for allegedly being the middleman in an illegal oil deal and making payments to a convicted money launderer, The Times reports.

Papers filed with a London High Court claim that JP Morgan transferred money to a company (Malabu Oil & Gas) controlled by former oil minister Dan Etete, who had previously been convicted of money laundering by French courts. He is also being pursued by Nigerian authorities.

During his time as minister, Malabu was awarded an exploration licence (OPL 245). Later, an agreement was made for Malabu to give up the licence for a fee which would then be sold to Shell and Eni, with JP Morgan reportedly handling the transactions.

JP Morgan is being accused of being ‘grossly negligent’ when it handed over more than $800 million ‘without proper application or regard to its obligations’. JP Morgan on its own part has stated: ‘We consider the allegations made in the claim to be unsubstantiated and without merit.’