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US seizes $458m Abacha loot

This is coming after the US Department of Justice froze over $458 million in corrupt proceeds hidden in bank accounts around the world by former …

This is coming after the US Department of Justice froze over $458 million in corrupt proceeds hidden in bank accounts around the world by former  Head of State General Sani Abacha and conspirators.
The acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement, according to information from the US Embassy in Nigeria.
“General Abacha was one of the most notorious kleptocrats in memory, who embezzled billions from the people of Nigeria while millions lived in poverty,” Raman said.
“This is the largest civil forfeiture action to recover the proceeds of foreign official corruption ever brought by the department.  Through our Kleptocracy Initiative, we are seizing the assets of foreign leaders who steal funds that properly belong to the citizens they serve.  Today’s action sends a clear message: we are determined and equipped to confiscate the ill-gotten riches of corrupt leaders who drain the resources of their countries.”
The Assistant Director also said “We will not let the U.S. banking system be a tool for dictators to hide their criminal proceeds.  This action demonstrates the FBI’s ability to combat international corruption and money laundering by seizing the assets of those involved.”
The information read that as alleged in the complaint, General Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha, their associate Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and others systematically embezzled billions of dollars in public funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria on the pretense that the funds were necessary for national security.
She explained that the conspirators withdrew the funds in cash and then moved the money overseas through U.S. financial institutions.
Bagudu represents Kebbi Central Senatorial District of Kebbi State in the Senate under the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
The statement also said Abacha and his associates allegedly extorted more than $11 million from a French company and its Nigerian affiliate in connection with payments on government contracts.
The complaint seeks to forfeit bank accounts and investment portfolios with funds located in Bailiwick of Jersey, France and the United Kingdom.  The investigation was conducted by the FBI.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Elizabeth Aloi and Assistant Deputy Chief Daniel Claman of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, with substantial support from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.

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