Nigerian billionaire Arthur Eze, who boasted at a political rally recently that he got rich from government contracts, is being sued by a couple in the UK after pulling out of a property deal. Eze, made his money from being close to people in power from the days of military dictatorship in Nigeria. With the return of civilian rule, he joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) until they lost power at the centre when Goodluck Jonathan was defeated in the presidential (s)election two years ago. The oil mogul swiftly switched to the winning All Progressives Congress (APC). There is a possibility that Eze’s withdrawal from the deal could be related to money being short since his access to the seat of power is no longer what it used to be.
This report from London’s Evening Standard throws more light on court proceedings over the botched property deal.
Nigerian prince left us high and dry over sale of our £5m mansion, claim couple
A billionaire prince is being sued for £1.8 million by a couple who claim he left them with a “huge hole” in their finances when he pulled out of a deal to buy their London mansion.
Richard and Deborah Conway say they were left stranded on the housing ladder when Nigerian oil magnate Prince Arthur Eze withdrew from the deal on their £5 million home in Mill Hill.
They were already committed to buying a house in Cambridge and had to take out an expensive bridging loan when the deal with Prince Eze fell through, the High Court heard.
The couple claim they were forced to sell their home at a reduced price of £4.2 million, and are suing the prince to recover losses as well as “family expenses”.
However the Nigerian royal, said to be worth £2 billion, denies breach of contract and is counter-suing the couple for the return of a £500,000 deposit.
Mr Conway, 62, said he and his wife wanted to “pay off all our debts and start again” — with an eye on retirement — when they put their home up for sale for £5 million.
The court heard they exchanged contracts for the nine-bedroom home in August 2015, but Prince Eze had been acting through a “go-between” and had never seen the house.
The 62-year-old prince, the founder of oil firm Atlas Oranto Petroleum, paid a 10 per cent deposit of £500,000 but now alleges the deal was void because the Conways agreed to pay the agent a “secret commission” to secure the sale.
The Conways, who deny any inappropriate conduct, said the “go-between” contacted them initially without Prince Eze’s knowledge and later raised the prospect of a “£75,000 finder’s fee”.
They claim he then “threatened to scupper the deal” unless he was paid.
Giving evidence, Prince Eze said he had “good intentions” when he agreed to buy the house, saying he wanted “a genuine investment in the UK”.
“I wasn’t concerned about the price but I was concerned about people being open,” he said.
“I thought there was something funny going on.”
The Prince rejected a suggestion he had pulled out of the deal because of a drastic drop in oil prices.
Judge Andrew Keyser QC reserved his judgement to a later date.
By Tristan Kirk.