U.S Seeking To Recover $144m Assets Owned by Diezani, Aluko & Omokore

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U.S Seeking To Recover 4m Assets Owned by Diezani, Aluko & Omokore
U.S Seeking To Recover $144m Assets Owned by Diezani, Aluko & Omokore

 

A civil lawsuit filed by the U.S Department of JusticesKleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, is seeking to recover about $144m in assets including a$50.9 million Manhattan apartment and an $80 million yacht, allegedly bought using money generated from a scheme to pay millions of dollars in bribes to former Nigerian Petroleum MinisterDiezani Allison-Madueke.

According to Reuters, the U.S DOJs Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative seeks the forfeiture of the proceeds of foreign corruption.

Court documents claim that the property are owned byKola AlukoandJide Omokore, Diezanis associates, adding that the men bribed Diezanifor lucrative oil contracts between their companies and theNigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), a state-owned oil company.

The oil swap contracts were a barter arrangement where Nigeria used middlemen to sell crude oil in exchange for refined products.

The contracts were mostly opaque and formerCentral Bank of Nigeria (CBN)governorSanusi Lamido Sanusicriticised the NNPC for not being properly structured, monitored and audited.

President Buhari cancelled the oil swap contracts in November 2015.

The lawsuit, which is seeking the forfeiture of both assets, claims that Aluko and Omokorelaundered money through the US by purchasing the lavish assets. Aluko and Omokore were allegedly to have paid bribes to Diezani between 2011 and 2015.

Court documents claim Aluko and Omokore conspired to purchase millions of dollars in real estate in and around London for Diezani and her family members.

They were alsoaccused of buying a total of four residential properties in and around London worth $11.45 million, and furnishing them with luxury items.

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The $50.9 million penthouse, owned by Aluko, in theBillionaires Rowbuilding in New Yorkhas been foreclosed after failing to make mortgage payments.

Aluko acquired the6,240-square-foot full floor penthouse in December 2014 under a shell company listed in public records asOne57 Inc.

The $80m 65-meter yacht Galactica Star- which hostedBeyonces 32nd birthday bashin 2013 is also owned by Aluko and aLuxembourg-based BankBanque Havilland, from which the Aluko took a $35.3million mortgage,has listed theGalactica Staras collateral,after he failed to repay the mortgage which was due in 2015.

Court documents also reveal that Diezani warned Aluko of living a lavish lifestyle.

If you want to hire a yacht, you lease it for two weeks or whatever. You dont go and sink funds into it at this time when Nigerian oil and gas sector is under all kinds of watch, Diezani allegedly said to Aluko in a recorded conversation.

The case was filed on Friday at afederal court in Houston.

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