Access Bank ex-executive ordered to pay £600m damages

Nigerian Naira
Image caption The Nigerian central bank rescued a number of banks following the global financial crisis

Nigeria's Access Bank has won a High Court ruling in London ordering an ex-executive to pay £600m to the bank.

Erastus Akingbola, a former managing director of Intercontinental Bank that was taken over by Access last year, was ordered to pay the sum after being found guilty of illegal share dealing.

Intercontinental was bailed out by the Nigerian central bank in 2009.

The judge ruled Mr Akingbola's dealings had contributed to the bank's collapse. Mr Akingbola had denied any wrongdoing.

Bank rescue

The case was heard in London because the defendant was living in the city at the time proceedings were issued.

Access Bank alleged that Mr Akingbola had been involved, either directly or indirectly, in buying large chunks of Intercontinental stock. When the Nigerian stock market collapsed following the global financial crisis, the shares plummeted in value and the bank had to be rescued.

Access also claimed the defendant had overseen payments from the bank to Tropics Group, a company in which he held a stake.

In his ruling made on Tuesday, Mr Justice Burton said: "The claimant's case in proved".

"As the Tropics Payments Claim is concerned, and as for his strategy for the company to buy its own shares... quite apart from being contrary to Nigerian law, it was simply wrong-headed, and was plainly a substantial contributing factor to the collapse of the bank."

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