The claims read like the plot of a best-selling thriller, with secretive arms dealers and a corruption-riddled government fighting jihadists.
The weapons deal collapses in acrimony but instead of a shoot-out, the embittered parties fight it out in court.
In this real life saga, Ara Dolarian is the US arms dealer, Hima Aboubakar the weapons contractor and the foreign government Nigeria, which has been locked in a battle with Boko Haram since 2009.
The $246 million (221 million euros) order at the height of the jihadists’ insurgency in 2014 was for weapons and equipment, including helicopters, bombs and ammunition.
It could have given over-stretched and under-resourced Nigerian troops a boost, as the better-armed rebels captured territory across northeast Nigeria, often without a fight.
But the deal collapsed in 2015 and the arms never arrived. Aboubakar sued Dolarian for fraud in California.
Aboubakar, a national of Niger, claimed the US arms dealer failed to ship $8.6 million worth of bombs and rockets, damaging his reputation as “a trusted arms supplier to the Nigerian military”.
Dolarian alleges in court documents that he was unwittingly caught up in a “money laundering scheme” and that Aboubakar’s arms money was “stolen from the Nigerian government”