The federal government of Nigeria has filed a case against JP Morgan Chase for $875m in transferring funds to an oil company controlled by the former minister of petroleum.
JP Morgan was accused of negligence in transferring $1.3 billion payment made by Shell and Eni to secure the oilfield deal that the lawsuit says was deposited into a Nigerian government escrow account managed by JP Morgan.
According to Reuters; the lawsuit said JP Morgan then received a request from finance ministry workers to transfer more than $800 million of the funds to accounts controlled by the previous operator of the block, Malabu Oil and Gas, itself controlled by former oil minister Dan Etete.
The suit filed in British court relates to a purchase of the offshore OPL 245 oilfield in Nigeria by oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in 2011.
The lawsuit stated that JP Morgan transferred the funds to two accounts controlled by Etete, without sufficient due diligence to make sure the money did not leave accounts controlled by the Nigerian Federal government.
The Federal government maintained that JP Morgan should have checked further before making the transfers.
The filing stated: “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 federal government has earlier announced the recovery of $85 million as part of the funds accused of being looted from the shady Malabu oil deal in October, 2017.