More than 300 million US dollars of laundered cash held in Jersey bank accounts is being sent back to Nigeria.
The government here has signed an agreement with the US and Nigerian authorities to return the money.
The cash was taken from Nigeria during the corrupt military regime of General Sani Abacha, laundered through the American banking system and put in Jersey accounts.
A restraining order was put on the assets held here in the name of Doraville Properties Corporation in 2014 at the request of US authorities.
Following years of third party legal challenges, and then lengthy negotiations between the three governments, a landmark deal has been signed this week that will see the confiscated funds returned to the people of Nigeria.
The projects it will be spent on there will be independently audited.
It's been called a watershed in international cooperation in asset recovery and repatriation.
“This Agreement represents the culmination of two decades of intensive work by Law Officers in Jersey, the United States and Nigeria. The return of the assets to Nigeria had been delayed by a number of hard- fought challenges by third parties which were defeated in the Courts in Jersey and the
This is a very significant achievement, and, once again, demonstrates Jersey’s commitment to tackling international financial crime and money laundering.” - Solicitor General and Attorney General designate of Jersey, Mark Temple QC
External Relations Minister Senator Ian Gorst has offered his 'sincere thanks and appreciation' to the dedicated team at the Law Officers' Department and their international colleagues - saying their cooperation the fight against corruption should be an example for other jurisdictions to follow.
“Since becoming aware that the alleged proceeds of Abacha corruption and money laundering had passed through Jersey financial institutions, the Jersey authorities have done everything within their power to investigate what happened and to return the money to its rightful owners, the people of
“As a leading international finance centre with an effective and robust regulatory regime, Jersey has a responsibility to firmly address any instances of alleged money laundering and corruption. Our commitment to seeing these funds repatriated has led to a positive outcome for the people of Nigeria, has established lasting partnerships and given us a pioneering role in asset-recovery that is based on the principles of national interest, trust and mutual respect.”
Deputy Assistant Attorney Brian Benczkowski announced the agreement on behalf of the United States:
"Through the recovery of these funds -- and this mutual agreement -- the people of Nigeria can see the money they lost to corruption in
flagrant disregard of the rule of law is returned through a lawful process, and in a manner that ensures transparent and accountable use of the funds."
Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Nigeria who signed on behalf of the Nigerian government called it a major victory for Nigeria and other African countries.
“Without the commitment of the three parties to the Agreement (Nigeria, Jersey and the United States) and that of the legal experts and Attorneys
representing Nigeria, it would have been impossible to achieve the success recorded today.”
As you are aware, the government of Nigeria has committed that the assets will support and assist in expediting the construction of three major infrastructure projects across Nigeria: the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, Abuja – Kano Road and the Second Niger Bridge. These projects are being executed under the supervision of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority as a Public Private Partnership that will boost economic growth and help alleviate poverty by connecting people and supply chains from the East to the West and to the Northern part of Nigeria, a vast area covering several kilometres with millions of the country’s population set to benefit from the road infrastructures.“