Nigeria’s $11 bln damages bill for collapsed gas deal thrown out by London court

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LONDON, Dec 21 – An $11 billion damages bill against Nigeria for a collapsed gas processing project which was procured by bribery has been thrown out by London’s High Court.

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The West African country was on the hook for the sum – representing around a third of its foreign exchange reserves – after a little-known British Virgin Islands-based company took Nigeria to arbitration over the deal.

But the High Court ruled in October that the contract was procured by Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) paying bribes to a Nigerian oil ministry official.

Judge Robin Knowles also found that P&ID failed to disclose the bribery when it later took Nigeria to arbitration.

He said in a further ruling on Thursday that the damages award should be thrown out immediately, rejecting P&ID’s argument that the case should be sent back to arbitration.

P&ID was also refused permission to appeal against the ruling, effectively ending the case as the company cannot apply for permission from the Court of Appeal.

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