Ecobank Continues Battle Against Ex-CEO Even After London Ruling

Ecobank Transnational Inc. will appeal West African court rulings that awarded former Chief Executive Officer Thierry Tanoh about $24 million even after a London judge overturned an order blocking the payments.

The lifting of an injunction on July 3 that had prevented Tanoh from enforcing court decisions in Togo and Ivory Coast doesn’t validate those judgments, according to Richard Uku, a spokesman for Ecobank. The pan-African lender will also continue to seek an out-of-court settlement with Tanoh, said Uku.

Last week’s ruling “simply indicates that the High Court of London has taken a position of non-interference in the legal processes of other sovereign countries after legal judgments have been made,” Uku said Monday in an e-mailed response to questions. “Ecobank remains free to pursue the appeals it initiated against the judgments in Ivory Coast and Togo -- and it is indeed doing so while holding direct parallel discussions with Mr Tanoh.”

Tanoh, an Ivorian now working in the office of President Alassane Ouattara, left the bank more than a year ago as Nigerian regulators investigated allegations of management fraud and poor governance while he was CEO in 2013. He denied any wrongdoing.

He sued Ecobank for unfairly terminating his contract in Togo and for defamation in Ivory Coast, winning both cases in the first two months of 2015.

Tanoh also won a case against Ecobank’s Ivory Coast unit in May. He was awarded 8.2 billion CFA francs ($14 million) by a local commercial court through that decision, which the London ruling didn’t cover.

Ecobank, which operates in more than 35 sub-Saharan African countries and has $23 billion of assets, has shares trading in Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Cost. It rose 1.6 percent to 22.10 naira in Lagos by the close, extending gains in the past 12 months to 29 percent.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE