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Switzerland orders Abacha’s $350m seized

Swiss authorities said yesterday that they had ordered some $350m of assets to be seized from the son of the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha for graft.

“The first order of the sentence issued yesterday by the examining magistrate found that Abba Abacha, born November 9, 1968, son of the late general Sani Abacha, was guilty of participation in a criminal organisation,” Geneva canton’s justice office said in a statement.

“The examining magistrate sentenced him to a suspended jail term, and ordered the confiscation of his assets of 350 million dollars __ which is held by his criminal organisation and seized through international assistance in Luxembourg and the Bahamas.”

The court was not immediately available for comment on the duration of the suspended jail sentence.
The elder Abacha, who died in June 1998, is suspected of having siphoned off some 2.2 billion dollars from the Nigerian central bank between his coming to power in November 1993 and his death four_and_a_half years later.
Some 700 million dollars of his loot, which was stashed in Swiss banks, have been returned by Switzerland to Nigerian authorities.

In yesterday’s statement, Geneva authorities said they have convicted a “financial intermediary who is currently domiciled in the Principality of Monaco, for having been part of the criminal organisation” run by the Abacha clan.

This person, who was not named, has been sentenced to pay an unspecified fine.

The person has also been ordered to pay the canton of Geneva 10 million Swiss francs  which “corresponds to illicit gains obtained from these culpable activities,” added the statement.


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