What Goes Around, Comes Around...Nigerian Government Stung by Nigerian US Law Firm Partner
Maryland's ECU Law Group and three of its lawyers are accused in a civil suit of failing to remit $1.55 million to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The embassy of Nigeria filed civil suit against ECU Law Group in U.S. District Court Tuesday. The suit alleges Ephraim Emeka Ugwuonye, a Harvard educated attorney and a Nigerian himself, who handled a real estate transaction for the embassy, has not returned an IRS tax refund to Nigeria.
Ugwuonye, the complaint said, promised to return the tax refund. The suit accuses Ugwuonye of keeping the money as payment for other services he performed for Nigeria. The embassy, according to the suit, paid Ugwuonye 3.5 percent of the sale price of the M Street NW property.
In August 2008, ECU lawyer Bruce Fein, representing himself as Ugwuonye’s attorney, said Ugwuonye was keeping the tax refund as payment for work he performed in the Northern District of Illinois representing a former member of the military junta that ruled Nigeria in the 1990s.
Ugwuonye, according to the suit, never informed the Nigerian embassy that in 2008 he was suspended from the practice of law in Maryland for 90 days for, among other things, taking a fee for a frivolous case. Lawyers for the embassy charge that Ugwuonye continued practicing law during his suspension. Ugwuonye was not immediately reached for comment Thursday afternoon. source
PREDICTION: The outcome of this litigation, in M.E.'s clairvoyant opinion, is for an out-of-court settlement. Otherwise, either the Federal Republic of Nigeria will feel a reverse financial sting, or an embarrassing Installment In the Public's Benefit should be forthcoming for at least one more lawyer.
Brings back memories of things (Nigerian fraudsters jailed for $240m bank sting) that have come around before.
Submarines are always silent and strange.