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Nigeria Wins Major Oil Deal Battle

Nigeria won a long-running arbitration battle over an oil field, avoiding the award of $1.5 billion in damages. A tribunal at the Washington D.C.-based International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes dismissed claims filed by the family of a deceased Italian businessman, Vittorio Fabbri, which alleged that Nigeria‘s government helped their father’s employee illegally seize control of his company after his death in 1998. The decision “absolves the federal government of Nigeria from any liability,” Attorney General Abubakar Malami said in a statement Wednesday. Interocean Oil Development Co. and Interocean Oil Exploration Co., two Delaware-registered entities controlled by the Fabbri family, filed their case against Africa’s largest crude producer in 2013. The company at the heart of the conflict, Pan Ocean Oil Corp., was the operator of an onshore oil block from the 1970s until last year, when the Ministry of Petroleum Resources revoked the permit due to unpaid taxes. The Nigerian government took over all assets belonging to tycoon Festus Fadeyi, including Pan Ocean, in July, saying he owed 240 billion naira ($625 million) in debts. The Fabbri family used to own Pan Ocean through the Interocean companies.