Access Bank wins $1 bln case against ex-chief

Nigeria's Access Bank has
won an order for repayment of more than $1 billion
in a fraud case in London's High Court against a
former executive of a bank it took over, according to
a court document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
Access Bank charged Erastus Akingbola, the former
managing director of rescued lender Intercontinental
Bank which it bought last year. The judgement was
handed down by Justice Burton on Tuesday.
Access shares were trading flat on Wednesday.
Intercontinental, then one of Nigeria's largest banks,
was one of nine lenders bailed out by the central
bank in 2009, when Akingbola was removed from
his post.
The judge ruled that Akingbola and his counterparts
owed Access 145 billion naira ($902.58 million) due
to illegal dealing in Intercontinental Bank shares and
16 billion naira in payments made by the bank to
Tropics Group, companies in which Akingbola had an
interest, Burton said.
Akingbola denied any wrongdoing.
"The claimant's case is proved," Burton's judgement
"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," Burton added.
Akingobola has already submitted $9 million to the
court from property he bought with the bank's
money but later sold, the judgement said. ($1 =
160.6500 Nigerian nairas) (Reporting by Chijioke
Ohuocha and Tim Cocks; Writing by Joe Brock;
Editing by David Cowell)::::

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