Abacha Loot: Switzerland to Return $380 million to Nigeria

Geneva’s public prosecutor, on Tuesday, said that Switzerland will return $380 million (360 million euros) to Nigeria, as part of funds looted by Sani Abacha, former Nigerian military ruler.

The prosecutor also announced that it was closing a 16-year case on the funds. This

follows a July 2014 deal between Nigeria and the Abacha family, whereby it was agreed that the funds would be confiscated and returned to Nigeria while Abuja would drop its case against Abba Abacha, the deceased dictator’s son.

The Swiss prosecutors’ office said in a statement that the $380 million that were controlled by the Abacha family had been placed in several accounts abroad.

The money was seized in 2006 in Luxembourg, under orders from the Swiss authorities.

The Abacha family, which is considered a criminal organisation, had also placed $500 million (530 million euros) in Swiss banks, the funds have already been returned to Nigeria.

Abba Abacha was handed a one-year suspended prison sentence in 2012 for participating in a criminal organisation. Citing procedural reasons, Switzerland’s top

court cancelled the sentence in May 2014.

The Geneva prosecutor’s office on Tuesday said Abacha has already been detained for 561 days from 2004 to 2006, without receiving compensation.

The Abacha saga began in 1999, when Nigeria asked the Swiss judicial authorities to help it recover $2.2 billion ($2 billion euros) embezzled and siphoned off by Sani Abacha while he was in power.

Adjudged the fiercest dictator to ever rule the country, Abacha ruled Nigeria from 1993 until he died in 1998.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the $380 million will be returned under the World Bank’s supervision. 

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