Ecobank Board Says No Financial Impropriety by Chairman Lawson

Ecobank Transnational Inc. (ETI)’s board of directors said there had been no financial impropriety by Chairman Kolapo Lawson after he repaid loans to the bank.

Lawson has repaid 1.6 billion naira ($10 million) to Ecobank’s Nigeria unit and the board has “unanimously” reaffirmed its confidence in its chairman, Jeremy Reynolds, a spokesman at the Lome, Togo-based lender, said by e-mail today.

The Asset Management Corp. of Nigeria, created by Nigeria’s government to buy lenders’ bad loans in 2010, said last week that it reached a repayment agreement with Lawson over outstanding debts owed to the agency.

“The board has made clear that it has no outstanding concerns and I now wish to concentrate once again on leading Ecobank to further success,” Lawson said in an e-mailed statement today.

Founded in 1985, Ecobank has expanded into France and 34 African countries. It has representative offices in Beijing, Dubai, Johannesburg, London and Luanda, Angola. The bank’s assets were $21 billion at the end of June.

Ecobank’s shares fell 0.6 percent to 14.61 naira at 12:42 p.m. in Lagos, the Nigerian commercial capital. The stock gained 29 percent this year, compared with a 24 percent gain for the 10-member Nigerian Stock Exchange Banking 10 Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Kay in London at ckay5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net; Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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