Bank Mellat sues UK state

Iran’s largest private bank is suing the British government for almost $4 billion (R43.3bn) in damages after Britain’s Supreme Court quashed sanctions imposed against it over alleged links to Tehran’s nuclear programme. Bank Mellat wants compensation for the “significant pecuniary loss” it sustained as a result of the sanctions, according to a claim filed in London’s High Court. Britain’s Supreme Court ruled in June last year that the government was wrong to have imposed sanctions on the bank in 2009, maintaining that the government had been “irrational” to single out Bank Mellat. – Reuters


Loans sought for fuel pipeline

Kenya is seeking $400 million (R4.3 billion) to $500m in loans to pay for the construction of a new fuel pipeline from the port of Mombasa, east Africa’s trade gateway, to the capital, Nairobi. Tender documents by the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) said that the bigger pipeline would replace an older one and was designed to help meet demand for petroleum products in the east African region for the next 30 years. KPC said the project would be financed through its internally generated funds and an external borrowing facility limited to between $400m and $500m. Details of the total cost of the entire project were not immediately available. – Reuters


Lack of finds harries oil firms

Global oil companies, hit by one of the worst years for discovery in two decades, are about to cut exploration spending, pulling back from frontier areas and jeopardising their future reserves, industry insiders say. Notable exploration failures in high-profile places such as Africa’s west coast, from Angola all the way up to Sierra Leone, have pushed down valuations for exploration-focused companies and are now forcing oil majors to change tack. “It is becoming increasingly difficult to find new oil and gas, and in particular new oil,” said Tim Dodson, the exploration chief of Norway’s state-owned Statoil, the top conventional explorer last year. “The discoveries tend to be somewhat smaller, more complex, more remote, so it is very difficult to see a reversal of that trend,” Dodson said. – Reuters


Barclays staff face Libor rap

Three former Barclays employees were charged by UK prosecutors with conspiring to manipulate the London interbank offered rate (Libor), bringing the number of people accused in global probes to more than a dozen. Peter Charles Johnson, Jonathan James Mathew and Stylianos Contogoulas were charged with conspiring to defraud between June 2005 and August 2007, the Serious Fraud Office said yesterday. Prosecutors and regulators around the world are investigating whether more than a dozen firms colluded to rig Libor and related benchmarks to benefit from their own derivatives trades. Barclays was the first bank fined over Libor in June 2012 by US and UK authorities. The London-based lender’s former chief executive, Robert Diamond, resigned over the scandal. – Bloomberg