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London Arbitration Court orders Oando CEO, deputy to pay Volpi $680m

London Court of International Arbitration, LCIA, has ordered two companies owned by Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu, and his deputy, Mr. Mofe Boyo, to pay a total debt of $680 million (N244.8 billion) to Ansbury Investments Inc, owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi.

In its ruling on July 6, 2018, LCIA held that Ocean and Oil Development Partners, OODP, British Virgin Islands, which owns 55.96 percent of Oando Plc through a holding company named Ocean and Oil Development Partners Nigeria Ltd, is indebted to Ansbury Investment Inc. to the tune of $600 million (N216 billion).

An international lawyer and counsel to Ansbury Investment, Mr. Andrea Moja, confirmed the LCIA award in a release, yesterday.

According to Moja, the Arbitration Court also held that Whitmore Asset Management Limited, whose ultimate beneficial owners are Wale Tinubu and Mofe Boyo, are indebted to Ansbury Investment to the tune of another $80 million (N28.8 billion). This brings the total debt owed by the Oando managers to Ansbury Investment to $680 million.

Documents obtained from the LCIA, which is reputed to be one of the world’s leading international institutions for commercial dispute resolution, identified the family of a Nigerian-Italian, Mr. Gabriele Volpi as the ultimate beneficial owner of Ansbury, while Mr. Wale Tinubu and Mr. Mofe Boyo are the ultimate beneficial owners of Whitmore Assets Management Limited.

The London Arbitration Court held that an existing “Third Shareholders Agreement” between the parties is fully and legally binding on the parties as claimed by Ansbury Investment.

The documents indicate that a final award in which the court will pronounce on accrued interests on the debts owed and legal expenses incurred by Ansbury will follow in the next few days. The LCIA award has been communicated to the parties concerned since July 9, 2018.

The press statement read in part: “The award has been communicated to the parties on July 9, 2018 and the key terms are as follows:

“The claim of Whitmore Asset Management Limited that the parties agreed to a binding Fourth Shareholders Agreement was rejected. The court upheld the position that the Third Shareholders Agreement is fully and legally binding between the parties as stated by Ansbury Investments Inc.

“The alleged agreement by which Whitmore Asset Management Limited was to hold 60 per cent Of Ocean and Oil Development Partners (BVI) Ltd is not binding on the parties.

“Ocean and Oil Development Partners (Bvi) Ltd owes a debt to Ansbury Investments Inc for an amount of US$ 600 million.

“Whitmore Asset Management Limited owes a debt to Ansbury Investments Inc for an amount of US$80 million.

“This partial award will be followed by a final award in which the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) will pronounce on interests on the amounts owed and legal expenses.

“Given the above, Ansbury Investments Inc will immediately submit an application to London Court of International Arbitration,  LCIA, in which it will be asked to charge Whitmore Asset Management Limited for all the due interests and legal expenses as well.”


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