Diezani Bribe: Aiteo Chief Benedict Peters Contracts Int’l Law Firms
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Executive Vice Chairman of Aiteo Group, Mr Benedict Peters, has engaged the services of two leading law firms in the world to help him address what he described as “unfounded allegations” against him.
Reports in Nigeria claimed Mr Peters was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in connection with a case of criminal conspiracy, diversion of funds and money laundering.
But the Nigerian businessman said the allegations against him are politically motivated.
Mr Peters, in a statement issued by Aiteo Group, said he has instructed London law firm Mishcon de Reya and Washington’s Covington & Burling to lead ongoing efforts to address politically-motivated issues.
Aiteo Group, founded in 1999, is a leading indigenous Nigerian oil producer headquartered in Lagos.
UK-based Mishcon de Reya is one of the world’s leading legal practices with a particular proficiency in handling contentious international disputes.
Covington, headquartered in Washington, DC. United States, has an outstanding reputation in navigating complex legal issues at the intersection of law and policy around the world.
Explaining the appointments, Mr Peters said, “I maintain my position that all the allegations are baseless and without any truth whatsoever.
“These unfounded allegations have caused untold disruption to my family and my business. To ensure that we remain focused, I have engaged two of the world’s leading law firms to offer both counsel and guidance in dealing with these issues.”
“There is a toxic culture of politically motivated witch-hunts that stains reputations, stifles enterprise and keeps foreign investors away from our country. For two years, I have suffered malicious, unfounded and false allegations hanging over my head,” he added.
“This persecution is being pursued to diminish the visible endeavours to position our business, and Nigeria, at the apex of the energy industry worldwide.
“Despite these distractions, I remain focused on the efforts to sustain Aiteo’s growth towards becoming Nigeria’s leading indigenous oil producer.
“It is time to address the situation and so I have decided that I must take direct legal and other action to clear my name,” Mr Peters stated.