US Government Seizes Abacha’s $458 Million Loot

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Less than a week after being honored at the centenary awards by the Federal Government, the late Sani Abacha is still making headlines and this time it is not an open letter.

The Punch reports that US Government has seized $458 million in assets hidden in European accounts by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha.

It also reports that the Justice Department said the corruption proceeds, stashed away in bank accounts in Britain, France and Jersey, were frozen at Washington’s request with the help of local authorities.

Abacha died in office in 1998, but his surviving relatives still include some of the richest and most influential figures in Nigeria.

 According to a civil forfeiture complaint unsealed in the US District Court in Washington, the department wants the recover more than $550 million in connection with the action.

“This is the largest civil forfeiture action to recover the proceeds of foreign official corruption ever brought by the department,” said Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general.

“General Abacha was one of the most notorious kleptocrats in memory, who embezzled billions from the people of Nigeria while millions lived in poverty,” she said.

The Justice Department said the assets frozen — along with additional assets named in the complaint — represent the “proceeds of corruption” during and after the military regime of Abacha, who became president of Nigeria through a military coup on November 17, 1993 and held that office until his death on June 8, 1998.

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