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SWISS BANK TO RETURN $380 MILLION ABACHA LOOT
Swiss officials have announced an intention to return about $380 million belonging to Nigeria which was looted and stashed in accounts in Switzerland by late military dictator Sani Abacha.
According to the Associated Press, AP, Geneva prosecutors disclosed on Tuesday that they ordered the money seized in Luxembourg starting in 2006 after which it was transferred to Switzerland and officially confiscated last year following an agreement between the federal government and the Abacha family.
The Nigerian government consequently dropped its case against the late dictator’s son, Abba Abacha while prosecutors in Geneva have also closed their own case, opened in 1999, in which Abba was the last person still under investigation.
They also revealed that Abba had been detained for 561 days from 2004 to 2006, without receiving compensation.
In 2012, the dictator’s son was handed a one-year suspended prison sentence for participating in a criminal organization but Switzerland’s apex court, citing procedural reasons, cancelled the sentence in May 2014.
Attempts by the federal government to recover funds looted by the late dictator began in 1999 when Nigeria asked the Swiss authorities to assist in recovering $2.2 billion which had been looted and stashed away by Sani Abacha as military ruler.
Switzerland has repatriated more than $700 million of such looted funds that were hidden in Swiss accounts to Nigeria.
The State of Jersey, the biggest territory in the Channels Island, also announced in December 2014, that it would return £315 million Abacha loot to Nigeria. The Island, reputed for its transparent banking services, had previously returned £140 million.
Reports revealed that the money was laundered on behalf of Abacha by Raj Bhojwani.
Bhojwani, an Indian businessman, is currently serving an eight-year sentence in a UK prison.