US returns another $20m Abacha booty to Nigeria

The United States Department of Justice said it had transferred more than $20.6 million to the federal government pursuant to an August 23 agreement between the governments to repatriate assets stolen by the late dictator General Sani Abacha and his co-conspirators.

According to a statement posted Thursday on the DoJ’s website, the repatriation brings the total amount forfeited and returned by the United States in this case to approximately $332.4 million.

In 2020, the department repatriated over $311.7 million of forfeited assets that were in the Bailiwick of Jersey.

Last year, the UK enforced the US judgment against the additional $20.6 million.

In 2014, a judgment was issued in the District of Columbia ordering the forfeiture of approximately $500 million located in accounts around the world, following a civil claim for forfeiture of more than $625 million by the money laundering involving the proceeds of Abacha’s corruption.

The confiscated assets represent corrupt funds laundered during and after the military rule of Abacha, who became head of state in a military coup on November 17, 1993 and held that position until his death on November 17, 1993. June 8, 1998.

The complaint filed in the case alleged that Abacha, his son Mohammed, their associate, Abubakar Bagudu, now Governor of Kebbi State, and others embezzled, embezzled and extorted billions of dollars from coffers government and others, then laundered their criminal proceeds. through US financial institutions and transactions.

The statement read: ‘The UK’s cooperation in the investigation, restraint and execution of the US judgment, as well as the valuable contributions of Nigeria and other law enforcement partners around the world , including the UK’s National Crime Agency, as well as those of the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, have been instrumental in recovering these funds.

”Under the agreement signed in August, the United States agreed to transfer 100% of confiscated net assets to Nigeria to support three critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria that had previously been authorized by the Nigerian President, General of Division Muhammadu Buhari (retired) and the Nigerian Legislature.

“The $20,637,622.27 marks a slight reduction from the $23 million announced in August, mainly due to fluctuations in the exchange rate between the British pound and the US dollar. The funds governed by this agreement will help finance the second Niger bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan highway and the Abuja-Kano road – investments that will benefit the citizens.

The Department appreciates the considerable assistance provided by the Governments of the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Jersey and France in this investigation.

He added that the case was brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative by a team of dedicated prosecutors from the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, working in partnership with the Federal Bureau. of Investigation.

The United States encouraged individuals with information about possible foreign corrupt proceeds located in or laundered through the United States to contact federal law enforcement or email [email protected]

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