A former Business Secretary and Lib Dem, Vince Cable, has called on the UK Home Office and National Crime Agency to explain themselves over the revelation that the UK anti-money laundering agency let JP Morgan transfer $875 million to a former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete.
The transfers were made in relation to the “corrupt” Malabu oil deal, involving the controversial OPL 245.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that JP Morgan’s London branch claimed it repeatedly sought consent from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) to pay the fund into accounts linked to Mr. Etete.
The bank said that instead of being told to block the transfers, it was given the green light by Soca to proceed.
The details were contained in the U.S. bank’s defence filed last week at the High Court against an $875m damages claim by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, seen by PREMIUM TIMES London partner, Finance Uncovered.
The reason why that permission was granted has not explained by the bank, but campaigners say the decision means there is “real cause for concern” about the UK’s current anti-money laundering regime.
In his reaction on Friday, Mr. Vince said he was shocked at the revelation.
The leading opposition politician who was Business Secretary at the time of the transfers in 2011 and 2013, said it suggests there is a weakness in the country’s anti-money laundering regime.
“I am shocked. This suggests serious weakness either in the UK’s anti-money laundering regime due to a lack of commitment or negligence,” he said.
The Lib Dem leader however added he will demand answers from the Home Office and the NCA.
The notorious Malabu deal, involving OPL245, involved Shell, Italian oil company ENI, a convicted money launderer, Mr. Etete, former Nigeria president Goodluck Jonathan and his then oil minister, Dieziani Alison-Madueke.
The controversial 2011 deal triggered police raids in Italy and the Netherlands, and an array of legal cases. Shell, Eni and former executives from both companies are due to stand trial on corruption charges in Italy in May.
In March, an Italian court adjourned the trial of Shell and Eni and its former executives.
All of them have consistently denied any wrongdoing.
Mr. Etete, who remains unreachable, has also denied wrongdoing.
Similarly, former president Jonathan, who is not facing trial, has also denied the claims of wrongdoing.
There has been no official reaction from the Nigerian government since the revelations were made.
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