U.S. Seizes Land Bought With Corruption Funds

     (CN) – Federal officials executed a forfeiture judgment Friday against certain Maryland property connected a Nigerian official who made millions laundering funds.
     Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha served as the elected governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Bayelsa State from 1999 until his impeachment in 2005. Though the governor declared his income for the entire period from all sources amounted to $248,000, including $81,000 in official salary, federal prosecutors say he “accumulated millions of dollars’ worth of property located around the world through corruption and other illegal activities.”
     During his first term as governor, Alamieyeseigha used “funds obtained through corruption, abuse of office, money laundering and other violations of Nigerian and U.S. law” to buy certain land in Rockville, Md.
     Solomon & Peters, a shell corporation that the governor controlled, later acquired title to the company. Alamieyeseigha entered a guilty plea to money laundering on behalf of that company in Nigeria in 2007.
     The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement filed a forfeiture complaint against the Rockville property, which it valued at $700,000.
     U.S. District Judge Roger Titus entered default judgment and ordered forfeiture of the land last week.
     The Justice Department announced that it had executed the forfeiture judgment Friday, heralding it as the latest success story of the so-called Kleptocracy Initiative.
     In a related Massachusetts action, the government also seized $400,000 from an investment account it linked to Alamieyeseigha.

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