US announces another $319m Abacha loot in UK, France
United States Embassy in Nigeria has announced that another $319m (N121bn) Sani Abacha, former Nigeria military dictator, loot is in the United Kingdom and France.
This comes about a week after Nigeria got $311 million Abacha Loot from the US and the Bailiwick of Jersey.
“The funds returned last week are distinct and separate from an additional $167m in stolen assets also forfeited in the United Kingdom and France, as well as $152m still in active litigation in the United Kingdom,” the embassy said in a statement on Wednesday.
It added that the United States will continue to help “combat corruption and to ensure a successful outcome in the return of these funds.”
It is unclear if the $152m litigation in the United Kingdom is the same with $152m (now $155m due to interest) being challenged by the UK and the US in a UK court.
The two countries are challenging its repatriation to Nigeria on the allegation that Nigerian government was planning to return $110 million of the money to Atiku Bagudu.
Bagudu, Kebbi state governor, was a financial adviser to the Abacha family.
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement in February that Bagudu was part of a network controlled by Abacha that “embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions from the government of Nigeria.”
Bloomberg reported that President Muhammadu Buhari administration is seeking the approval of a UK court to take possession of the assets before transferring 70 percent of the proceeds to Bagudu under the terms of an agreement signed in 2018.
But Nigeria’s Attorney-General Abubakar Malami denied such deal with Bagudu never happened but court papers say otherwise.
Bloomberg reported in April that the UK government’s National Crime Agency is “opposing the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s application,” according to a motion filed by Bagudu’s brother, Ibrahim, to the District Court for the District of Columbia in the US capital on March 30.
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