BVI-based company owed $11 billion by Nigeria rejects lying, bribery allegations - REUTERS
LONDON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Lawyers representing a British Virgin Islands-based company owed $11 billion by Nigeria over a collapsed gas processing project on Tuesday rejected Nigerian allegations that it bribed senior officials to obtain a lucrative contract.
Nigeria is trying to overturn an award to Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) of billions of dollars in damages that was made by a London arbitration tribunal in 2017.
The West African oil and gas producing nation was found in 2015 to be in breach of a 20-year gas processing contract awarded to P&ID.
Two years later, P&ID was awarded $6.6 billion for lost profits, a sum which has since swelled with interest to just over $11 billion, which represents around 30% of Nigeria's foreign exchange reserves.
An eight-week trial began in London on Monday. The high-stakes case has attracted considerable interest among Nigerians.
On Monday, Mark Howard, representing Nigeria, told London's High Court that P&ID obtained its contract "by telling repeated lies and paying bribes to officials", and then "corrupted" Nigeria's lawyers to obtain confidential documents during the arbitration.
P&ID denies paying any bribes or that it colluded with Nigeria's legal team.
The company's lawyer David Wolfson told the court on Tuesday: "None of Nigeria's allegations ... affords any justifiable ground for setting aside the award. There was no bribery, no perjury and no corruption."
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He argued in court documents that the challenge to the arbitration award was "just one part of (Nigeria's) relentless, politically-motivated campaign to destroy P&ID and anyone and anything associated with it".
Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Alexander Smith and Catherine Evans