US seeks forfeiture of $144m in assets from Nigerians

Ugo Okoro

The US government is seeking to confiscate $144m in assets from Nigerian oil magnates, who were alleged to have laundered “ proceeds of illicit business opportunities into and through the United States.”

Court documents filed in a US court by federal attorneys, allege that the assets were “derived from an international conspiracy to obtain lucrative business opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector in return for corruptly offering and giving millions of dollars’ worth of gifts and benefits to the former Nigerian Minister for Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.”

US federal attorneys allege that businessmen, “ Kolawole Akanni Aluko , Olajide Omokore and others, “conspired to and did purchase millions of dollars in real estate in and around London, U.K., for the use and benefit of Alison-Madueke and her family; conspired to and did provide more than one million dollars in furniture, artwork, and other furnishings purchased within the Southern District of Texas, and shipped, in part, to London and Abuja, Nigeria.”

They claimed that  “in return for such improper inducements, used her influence as the Minister for Petroleum Resources to steer to companies beneficially owned by Aluko and Omokore the award of multiple Strategic Alliance Agreements (“SAAs”) with an NNPC subsidiary.

“As further alleged herein, the companies that received these SAAs were unqualified and either improperly performed their obligations or, in some instances, failed entirely to perform. Nevertheless, these companies received more than $1.5 billion in revenues through the sale of Nigerian crude oil.”

The US government wants to seize the assets involved, which include real estate and a yacht worth millions of dollars.