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JPMorgan agrees to point finger at employees involved in fraudulent transfer for former Nigerian minister

JPMorgan Nigeria money laundering

By Dan Byrne for AMLi

JP MORGAN & CHASE has agreed to shed light on any of its employees who were involved in processing hundreds of millions of dollars for a known money launderer.

The funds – totalling $875 million – were transferred from bank accounts of the government of Nigeria to personal accounts of former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete.

A trial for the case is now expected in 2022, and JPMorgan lawyers have confirmed that they will identify which of their personnel were responsible for signing off on the fund transfers for Mr Etete, at a time when he was already known to be a convicted money launderer.

The confirmation was made in a London court Thursday, Bloomberg reports.

“The identity of the decision-makers really does go to the heart of the dispute,” said Roger Masefield, legal representative of the Nigerian government, who claimed in court that the bank was being “incredibly coy” about its processes behind closed doors.

Masefield drew attention to a previous statement by a JPMorgan manager in 2013 – that there were “lessons to learn” about a transaction which had occurred within the company.

Etete’s funds are understood to have been transferred in the two-year period prior to that statement.

Current Nigerian officials – different from those in power during the time of the scandal – are calling for the bank to be held fully accountable what it deemed as a “central role,” in the fraud.

The case is suspected to go as high as the then-Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan – voted out of power in 2015.

Mr Etete, who served in Jonathan’s cabinet, already had a money laundering conviction by the time of his appointment.

He was alleged to a siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars from a $1.1 billion deal that had been struck between Jonathan’s government and petroleum companies.

Mr Etete has seen assets such as speedboats and private jets connected to these scandals and, in some cases, seized by authorities.  

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