Taleveras Group, owned by one of Nigeria’s young billionaires Igho Sanomi, has reacted to reports of its involvement in the asset forfeiture proceedings filed by the U.S Department of Justice against Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke, and businessmen Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore.
According to prosecutors, Taleveras, along with oil traders Arcadia and Glencore, were found to have paid $1.2 billion into Kola Aluko’s account in Switzerland, proceeds from crude oil lifted from Aluko and Omokore’s company.
The company said in a statement: “This legal case is not against Taleveras or Igho Sanomi. As it relates to the US department case against Atlantic Drilling, please note that Taleveras and the other two major oil trading houses (Glencore and Arcadia) were not faulted for embarking on a legitimate transaction, as all payments were made based on legitimate third party contracts with private companies and not NNPC.”
Taleveras said its involvement in the alleged dubious transactions followed best international practices, as a third party.
“The attention of Taleveras legal team have been drawn to online publications related with a case against Atlantic Drilling Fluids. This legal case is not against Taleveras or Igho Sanomi.
Some of these publications are misleading, grossly inaccurate, it is thus proper to set the record straight.
One of Taleveras core activities since 2000, is sourcing, trading and engaging in third party contracts, inclusive of oil and gas upstream operations. Taleveras due to its capacity, trading expertise and financial strength, continues to source and engage in procuring third party oil contracts.
Taleveras performs on these contracts handling the physical delivery, risk management and logistics from start point to its numerous first class end users and major refiners. This process involves verification of the contracts with the issuing authority to authenticate and further compliance with our lending banks internal due diligence processes. This is no different from International Trading Standards performed by the numerous international and major oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria.
As it relates to the US department case against Atlantic Drilling, please note that Taleveras and the other two major oil trading houses (Glencore and Arcadia) were not faulted for embarking on a legitimate transaction, as all payments were made based on legitimate third party contracts with private companies and not NNPC.
This is indeed compared to a buyer of a property who embarks on verification of property title documents with the issuing authority and upon verification, goes into a sales contract and then makes contractual payment to the seller. The Buyer certainly has no business in whatever the seller does with his proceeds from the sale.
In concluding, the ultimate aim of contracting is to off-take crude oil from asset productions. It is worthy to note that neither Taleveras nor its associated companies lifted any oil from this production through Atlantic. Terms of the agreement were breached and hence a legal dispute and appropriate filings made in respected court of jurisdiction.
We will thus refrain from making further comments,” Taleveras stated.
Deziani, as oil minister between 2010 and 2015, used her influence to facilitate inappropriate business opportunities for Aluko and Omokore by assigning to their companies, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts (AEDC) Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development (AEBD) Limited, eight oil mining leases (OMLs).
The OMLs were assigned under Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs) with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Despite lacking the technical expertise and financial capacity to operate the OMLs, as noted in a February 2014 report of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Alison-Madueke greenlighted the process for her cronies.
What followed, said US prosecutors, was the sale by AEDC and AEBD of the oil-lifting allocations they were assigned under the Forcados and Brass SAAs to third-party oil trading companies. They made tonnes of money, by not fulfilling the obligations stated in the agreements, using some of it to bribe Alison-Madueke.
Photo Credit: Igho Sanomi