Ecobank Plans to Fight Former CEO in English Courts After Appeal

Ecobank Transnational Inc., the Togolese lender embroiled in a battle with former Chief Executive Officer Thierry Tanoh, wants to fight his claims in English courts after appealing judgments in Ivory Coast and Togo.

“The contract was based on English law -- the jurisdiction is not Togo but in England,” interim CEO Albert Essien said in a London interview with Bloomberg TV Africa on Monday. “We have started the process for international arbitration.”

Tanoh, who left Ecobank a year ago, won defamation cases against the lender in Ivory Coast and Togo for wrongful dismissal. The bank, ordered to pay Tanoh about 13.2 billion CFA francs ($22.5 million), is appealing the judgments. Ecobank has been in dispute with Tanoh since 2013 after regulators investigated allegations of management fraud and poor governance. Tanoh has denied any wrongdoing.

Even with the judgment in Togo going against Ecobank, moving its headquarters from the West African nation’s capital, Lome, “is not on the cards,” Essien said.

Essien, who agreed to head the bank for a limited period after Tanoh was ousted last March, said his successor may be announced by June.

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