$480 Million Seized in Kleptocracy Action
WASHINGTON (CN) - The United States will return $480 million to Nigeria, part of the enormous haul seized from banks around the world, where Nigeria's former dictator Sani Abacha had stashed it.
The seizures came from the Department of Justice's Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, the Justice Department said in a statement. This forfeiture, announced Thursday, came the day after judgment was entered in DC Federal Court.
Abacha seized power in 1993 and held onto it until he died in 1998.
"The complaint alleges that General Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha, their associate Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and others embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions of dollars from the government of Nigeria and others, then laundered their criminal proceeds through U.S. financial institutions and the purchase of bonds backed by the United States," the Justice Department said.
The total claim of $625 million was the largest in the history of the Kleptocracy division, the Justice Department said. It's still seeking another $148 million held in England.