The UK high court of justice has blocked the Nigerian government from appealing last month’s ruling dismissing a $1.7 billion (£1.4 billion) claim against JP Morgan Chase Bank over the transfer of proceeds from the sale of OPL 245 in 2011.
According to City A.M, the high court said there is “no real prospect” of overturning the ruling.
Last month, the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court ruled that there was no proof that Nigeria was defrauded in the deal.
In the judgement, Sara Cockerill, the judge, ruled that the Nigerian government could not prove that it was defrauded, saying it may be that with the benefit of hindsight, “JPMorgan would have done things differently” but declared that “none of these things individually or collectively amount to triggering and then breaching” the bank’s duty of care to its client.
The federal government had sued JP Morgan on the ground of “Quincecare duty”, alleging that the bank “ought to have known” that there was corruption and fraud in the transaction, which saw Malabu sell its 100 percent in OPL 245 to Shell and ENI for $1.1 billion.
All attempts to prove that there was corruption in the OPL 245 deal have so far been fruitless.
An Italian court in March 2021 dismissed all charges of corruption in the transaction, discharging and acquitting all the defendants, including Shell, ENI and Dan Etete, the promoter of Malabu.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) previously investigated the OPL 245 deal and announced in October 2019 that it was closing the case.
In April 2020, the US Securities and Exchange Commission also closed an investigation into the controversial deal after it could not prove fraud or corruption.