The U.S. Justice Department said it froze more than $458 million in corruption proceeds hidden in bank accounts around the world by late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha.
A civil forfeiture complaint unsealed today seeks recovery of more than $550 million, in what the Justice Department describes as the largest kleptocracy forfeiture action in its history.
The U.S. alleges that Abacha, his son, Mohammed Sani Abacha, and associates embezzled, extorted and misappropriated billions of dollars from the government of Nigeria and others and laundered the proceeds through the purchase of U.S.-backed bonds using U.S. banks.
â€œGeneral Abacha was one of the most notorious kleptocrats in memory, who embezzled billions from the people of Nigeria while millions lived in poverty,â€ Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Departmentâ€™s criminal division, said in a statement.
Abacha took power in a military coup in November 1993 and ruled Nigeria until his death in June 1998.
The case is U.S. v. All Assets Held in Account Number 80020796, 13-cv-01832, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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