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Abacha Loot: UK withholds £211 million stashed in late Nigerian dictator’s account

ON, Tuesday the United Kingdom, UK, Government announced the seizure of over £211 million from a Jersey bank account belonging to the late Nigerian Head of State, Sani Abacha.

In a UK Metro report, the money which was initially intended to be laundered into the United States, US, was recovered and put in accounts held in Jersey by Doraville Properties Corporation, a British Virgin Islands company.

Abacha had ruled the country for about five years as Nigerian military head of state before he died on June 8, 1998, from an alleged “sudden heart attack”.

The report also stated that the money is now being held by the government until authorities in Jersey, the US and Nigeria agree on how it should be distributed.

“Any money that Jersey does keep will be put into the Criminal Confiscation Fund, which is used to pay for a variety of projects. In the past, the fund has been used for the new police station and developments at La Moye Prison.

It also hinted that the “money held by Doraville is likely to be seized and paid into the Civil Asset Recovery Fund in the future”, the report stated.

The latest discovery is among a string of public funds allegedly stashed in international banks by the late military head of state who had ruled between 1993 and 1998.

In 2014, at the request of the US authorities, the Island’s Attorney General applied for, and the Royal Court granted, a restraining order over the Jersey bank account balance of Doraville.

“The purpose of the restraining order was to preserve the money until a final civil asset recovery order could be registered in the Royal Court.”

Doraville applied to the Royal Court for the restraint order to be discharged, but the Royal Court dismissed the application in 2016.

Then in 2017, Doraville challenged the Royal Court’s decision, taking the case to Jersey’s Court of Appeal.

“That challenge was again rejected. Finally, following the decision of Jersey’s Court of Appeal, Doraville made an application to appeal against the restraint order before the Privy Council – Jersey’s ultimate appellate court.”

However, Jersey’s Attorney General, Robert MacRae, confirmed Jersey’s judicial system was displaying transparency in its operations.

“In restraining the funds at the request of the United States of America, through whose banking system the funds were laundered prior to arriving here, and in achieving the payment of the bulk of the funds into the Civil Asset Recovery Fund.

“Jersey has once again demonstrated its commitment to tackling international financial crime and money laundering,” he said.

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