A British court has ordered a former politician and his accomplices convicted of fraud and money laundering to return 150 million euros to Nigeria, investigators announced on Monday.
He had been convicted after pleading guilty in a £50million fraud case. But following a forfeiture hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London, a judge ordered him to repay more than £101.5 million, Britain’s crime agency (NCA) said in a statement on Monday.
According to the NCA, the fraudulent profit attributed to James Ibori amounts to nearly £116 million. If he does not pay his dues, he faces an additional eight years in prison, according to the NCA.
His UK-based lawyer, Badresh Babulal Gohil , who had been sentenced to ten years in prison, was meanwhile ordered to repay more than £28million.
He has six months to remit this sum, failing which he risks six years in prison.A woman linked to James Ibori’s cases, convicted in 2010 of money laundering, has to pay back more than £ 2.6 million.“This confiscation order demonstrates our determination to prosecute illicitly obtained assets that have been invested in the UK,” NCA Commander Suzanne Foster said in a statement. “Ibori’s funds will be returned to the Nigerian government where they will be reinvested in public services,” she said.
The British police investigation began in 2005, recalls the NCA. It related to charges of corruption and theft of state funds during James Ibori’s time as governor of Delta State and in particular the fraudulent sale and purchase of shares in his mobile phone company.
According to the NCA, the investigation found that the money had been laundered by his UK-based lawyer through a myriad of offshore companies.