Sani Abacha loot to be returned to Nigeria

Sani Abacha

Liechtenstein will return $227million to Nigeria that was siphoned by former military ruler Sani Abacha in the 1990s, Nigeria’s finance ministry has said.

This follows a 16-year effort to retrieve the money. The bid to recover the money was blocked through legal action by companies linked to members of the Abacha family. The companies’ complaints were withdrawn following negotiations between the governments of Nigeria and Liechtenstein last month.

“We can confirm that Nigeria will on 25 June 2014 receive the sum of euros 167m ($227m) from the government of the principality of Liechtenstein, part of looted funds recovered from the Abacha family,” Nigeria’s finance ministry said in a statement.

So far, Nigeria has recovered $1.3 billion: $500 million in Switzerland in 2005. A further $1.1 billion in France, the UK, Luxembourg and the Channel island of Jersey is still tied up in legal proceedings. In March, the US froze more than $458million linked to Abacha in Jersey and France.

Abacha ruled Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998 and is thought to have siphoned up to $5billion into bank accounts across Europe.

Nigeria says it plans to invest the recovered money in a sovereign wealth fund.

Source: BBC & Financial Times