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Libya sues JPMorgan over $6m bribe allegation


Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) has sued JPMorgan Chase & Co. in London, saying the lender paid more than $6 million in bribes to secure a $200 million bond deal.

JPMorgan’s Bear Stearns sent the payments to businessman Walid Al-Giahmi, a close friend of the Qaddafi regime to arrange deals in a contract that was no more than a “sham” agreement, this is according to London court documents released on Tuesday.

The bank has until next month to submit defense documents in the case, which was filed in April.

The LIA, an oil wealth fund set up under former dictator Moammar Qaddafi, is pursuing a number of claims against major banks seeking to nullify unprofitable deals that may have been influenced by bribes.

According to Libyans, Giahmi may have acted “in the same way” on five sets of transactions involving other lenders, according to filings.

Giahmi had personal connections with the Qaddafi family and regime, including Qaddafi’s son Saif Al Islam.
Societe Generale SA paid more than $1.7 billion in settlements and regulators’ fines over claims the bank paid a bribe to Giahmi to arrange deals.

Libya’s United Nations-backed National Oil Corporation (NOC) had in July closed four oil ports held by the military chief Khalifa Haftar, collapsing the country’s hydrocarbons production.

The NOC has also written to the UN sanctions committee and foreign embassies with evidence that it said showed Haftar’s allies have for years been offering questionable contracts in breach of UN resolutions, that would lead to millions in dollars of oil revenues being siphoned out of the Libyan economy.

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