The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday the final resolution of two civil cases seeking the forfeiture of various luxury assets that were the proceeds of foreign corruption offences and were laundered in and through the United States.
The former minister of petroleum resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and Messrs Olajide Omokore and Kolawole Akanni who are businessmen were named in the cases.
“With the conclusion of the cases, the department has recovered roughly $53.1 million in cash – constituting the net liquidated value of the defendant’s assets – plus a promissory note with a principal value of $16 million,” the U.S. Justice department said in a statement.
Premium Times reported that court documents from 2011 to 2015, revealed that Nigerian businessmen Aluko and Omokore conspired with others to pay bribes to Alison-Madueke, who oversaw Nigeria’s state-owned oil company.
In return, the former minister used her influence to steer lucrative oil contracts to companies owned by Messrs Aluko and Omokore.
The proceeds of those illicitly awarded contracts totaling more than $100 million were then laundered in and through the United States and used to purchase various assets through shell companies, including luxury real estate in California and New York as well as the Galactica Star, a 65-metresuper yacht. The real estate was also used as collateral for loans to Aluko and shell companies he controlled. As part of the forfeiture process, those lien holders were paid.
Alison-Madueke, Omokore and Aluko have also been subjects of criminal trials in Nigeria over related oil industry alleged corruption.
Alison-Madueke has not been seen in Nigeria since the end of her ministerial tenure on May 29, 2015.
She is believed to be in exile in the United Kingdom.
Aluko has also remained at large while Omokore is the only one of the trio who has been physically present in Nigeria to attend trial.
The American cases involving Alison-Madueke, Omokore and Aluko were brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.