JP Morgan ordered to pay costs as £670m Nigerian case heads to court

JP Morgan has failed in its latest attempt to halt an 875 million US dollar (£670 million) lawsuit brought by the Nigerian government, as the investment banking titan was also ordered to pay £375,000 in legal costs.

The Wall Street firm stands accused of failing to prevent the transfer of corrupt payments to former Nigerian minister Dan Etete, who has been convicted of money laundering, in relation to a 2011 oil deal.

Last month, the commercial division of London’s High Court dismissed JP Morgan’s application to strike out the Nigerian claim.

On Friday, JP Morgan’s application for permission to appeal the judgement was refused and the African nation was awarded an interim payment of £375,000 to cover costs linked to the unsuccessful strike out application.

The claim, which was first lodged in 2017, will now proceed to trial in the UK courts, although it is expected that JP Morgan will apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the judgment.

A source close to the Nigerian government said: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria is pleased that JP Morgan has been ordered to pay the costs incurred.

“Nigeria looks forward to moving forward its claim against JP Morgan and seeing this matter through to trial, and is pleased that directions have been given to progress matters to a case management conference to be heard by the court in July.

“Nigeria is pleased the court has refused JP Morgan permission to appeal. This demonstrates again that JP Morgan’s response to the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s claim against it is misconceived.”

The source went on to say that the country will oppose any further applications by JP Morgan to the Court of Appeal.

JP Morgan could not be reached for comment but has previously argued the case should be dismissed because it had received approval from Abuja to transfer the funds.

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