The Privy Council has now given its backing to Jersey's decision to withhold an estimated $300million linked to a corrupt former Nigerian President, General Sani Abacha.
The Law Officers' Department says the decision marks a further step towards the recovery of the "stolen" assets as it was the last available legal challenge.
A US Federal Court in Washington DC had found that the money - believed to be in excess of US$300 million - was derived from corruption in Nigeria during the military regime of General Sani Abacha, and had been laundered through the US banking system by people including President Abacha's son Mohammed, before being transferred to Jersey.
It is estimated that General Sani Abacha, who led a military regime that ruled the country from 1993 to 1998, stole £2.2 billion from the country during his reign through theft and inflated invoices. In 2010, Raj Bhojwani was jailed for six years by the Royal Court for three counts of money laundering on Abacha’s behalf – the Court had heard that he was involved in a deal to sell trucks to the Nigerian Army at five-times their real value, generating huge profits.
In 2014, at the request of the US Authorities, Jersey's Attorney General applied for a restraining order over the Jersey bank account balance of Doraville, which is a BVI company, which the Royal Court granted.
Doraville applied to the Royal Court for the restraint order to be discharged but was dismissed on 22 July 2016, after Court ruled the restraint order was lawful.
Doraville then challenged the Royal Court’s decision in Jersey’s Court of Appeal but failed. Doraville then made an application to appeal to the Privy Council, Jersey’s ultimate appellate court. The Privy Council however announced its rejection of this final legal challenge and awarded costs to the Attorney General. The funds will now remain frozen in Jersey pending the registration of a civil asset recovery order in the Royal Court.
Attorney General Robert MacRae QC said: “In restraining the funds at the request of the United States of America, through whose banking system the funds were laundered prior to arriving here, Jersey has once again demonstrated its commitment to tackling international financial crime and money laundering.”
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.