Volpi to pay 60% of $600m while Tinubu to pay only 20% owed to Ansbury: London Court of International Arbitration

Contrary to a statement issued by the Legal Counsel to Ansbury Investment, Mr. Andrea Moja, the amounts owed to Ansbury Investments Inc, owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi, is in fact $80m owed by Whitmore Asset Management Limited, while the balance $600m is owed by Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI. This was revealed by lawyers representing Wale Tinubu and Mofe Boyo the Group Chief Executive and Deputy Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC and co-owners of Whitmore Asset Management Limited.

Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI Ltd, is owned by all three parties Wale Tinubu, Mofe Boyo and Gabriele Volpi, hence the judgement by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) implies that Volpi as part owner of OODP BVI owes himself by virtue of his ownership in the company. This was made in a ruling on July 6, 2018 by the LCIA.  OODP British Virgin Islands owns 99.99 percent of OODP Nigeria which in turn owns 55.96 percent of Oando PLC.

Following concerns that Volpi’s press release implied that they, Whitmore Limited, had a total indebtedness of $680 million, the principals have chosen to speak.

Sources have indicated that payment terms for the personal debt are being ironed out by both parties whilst payment terms for the $600 million owed by OODP will be determined by the LCIA which is reputed to be one of the world’s leading international institutions for commercial dispute resolution.

The dispute between Gabrielle Volpi and the principals of Oando has been ongoing for over a year and has been a cause of concern for companies and individuals alike who look for investments to grow their business via individuals in the form of equity or debt. Ansbury Investment which is owned by Mr Gabrielle Volpi reportedly invested in Ocean and Oil Limited, a company owned by Mr Wale Tinubu and Mr Mofe Boyo in 2014 and got a large stake in the company. This marked the dawn of a gruelling legal tussle with Mr Gabrielle Volpi who accused Oando PLC of huge debt.

Mr Wale Tinubu has also accused Ansbury of luring Oando PLC into buying-out its shareholder because they (Ansbury) were under heavy financial pressure. Thus, the judgment by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) is much needed to unravel the lingering dispute between all parties involved.

In 2017, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) constituted an 11-man team to carefully investigate the matter and submit a comprehensive report before the proposed date for the Oando PLC annual meeting.

The task force which was saddled with the responsibility of fashioning a way out after SEC received the petition highlighted some things. The committee made some recommendations, one of which involved advising the company to seek redress in the court of law.

“Ansbury should file an action in court for an order postponing the AGM or in the alternative, for an order of injunction restraining Oando Plc from entertaining any representation from OODP Nigeria during the AGM,” It read.

Gabrielle Volpi, a significant shareholder in OODP invested in the company during Oando’s acquisition of ConocoPhillips Nigeria assets.  At the time it would have seemed like the investment of a lifetime, unfortunately shortly after the price of oil crashed and saw many oil and gas companies fold.  That Oando is still alive today is a testament to its principals’ resilience and hard work.

The assumption would be that against this backdrop Gabrielle Volpi would wait for OODP to start to reap the rewards of its investment, however, he has faced near financial ruin in his home country Italy and possibly seeking any means necessary to recoup his investments.

Since the upturn in commodity prices, Oando has recorded 6 consecutive quarters of profits. The company kicked off 2018 on a positive note also, through the continued restoration of value to its shareholders via profits in the first quarter of the year.

With Oando’s exoneration by LCIA, investors and shareholders can be assured of an end to the legal expedition which started last year.

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