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African CEOs - July 24, 2023

Nigerian Billionaire Fights Son Over Multi-billion Dollar Family Assets

Italian-Nigerian billionaire, Gabriele Volpi is in an unusual legal battle with his son, Matteo over three dissolved trust assets.  

The fight between father and son reportedly began after the Nigerian billionaire parted ways with his wife, Rosaria over issues of infidelity.

The legal battle has torn the family apart as both parties have refused to give up on the fight.

Gabriele established Nigeria Container and Oil Terminal (NICOTES) with Italian oil firm AGIP in 1982. He also founded Integrated Logistics Services Limited (INTELS), which is his fattest cash cow so far, in 1995. With Intels, the Nigerian billionaire stamped his feet as the number one oil and gas logistics man in Nigeria and West Africa.

How it all started

Matteo, who managed his father’s businesses along with his younger brother, revealed that he had to resign after repeatedly clashing with his father over the running of several companies in the group without proper governance as required by the law.

When he left the family’s business, Gabriele suddenly and discreetly rearranged his financial affairs and stripped Matteo and his brother, Simone, of the influences and controls they had over the family assets.

Matteo started similar businesses as his father and launched an all-out war against Gabriele over control of the family’s massive assets.

What you need to know

The Nigerian billionaire’s action sparked a firestorm in the family, which has continued to rage to this day and has rattled even the businessman considerably.

He tried to calm the tempest by offering $120 million and property interests to settle the respective claims of Matteo and Simone to the trust assets. 

Matteo rejected the offer but Simone, who remains in good standing with his father, accepted the offer. Simone also declared support for the applications made in court by Mr Volpi and Delanson, the New Zealander company currently holding the businessman’s assets.

As it stands, reconciliation efforts have failed to produce any results between father and son. This is as Matteo continues to throw lethal punches at multiple jurisdictions at his father in court. The three dissolved trusts contain multi-billion dollar assets. 

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