XCLUSIVE – Mohammed Abacha Wanted in Ireland for Money Laundering, $6.5m Investment Bonds Frozen
Mohammed Sani Abacha has been ordered to appear in court in Ireland to answer a charge of money laundering. Ireland’s Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) secured interim orders yesterday, 10 November 2014, to continue freezing the investment bonds worth US$6.5m in Irish accounts, which is alleged to belong to the eldest surviving son of rogue former Nigerian Head of State, late General Sani Abacha.
In October, the Bureau had obtained a temporary order freezing the Irish accounts. As reported in the local media the order was granted ex parte (only the CAB side represented) under Section 2 of the Proceeds of Crime Act. But since then the Bureau’s efforts to serve notice of the proceedings on Mohammed Abacha in Nigeria had been “thwarted.”
Benedict Ó Floinn BL, counsel for the Bureau, argued before Justice Raymond Fullam that the bonds worth US$6.5m were from proceeds of crime, as they were obtained with money stolen from Nigeria, and laundered to Ireland through financial institutions in Switzerland, London and New York. Mr Ó Floinn claims also that the nature of the bonds breached Irish laws on tax evasion.
The Counsel explained that the illegal money was obtained by directly pilfering from the Central Bank of Nigeria and through “kickbacks” from corporations that were awarded various contracts by the rogue regime, who were compelled by the former dictator’s cohorts to pay the regime a certain “percentage of the contract’s value” or consider their contracts invalid.
Mr Ó Floinn had requested an adjournment to give the Bureau more time to make renew attempts to serve Mohammed Abacha the court orders. The judge agreed to adjourn the case and to continue the freezing orders until later this month.
Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is a law enforcement agency in Ireland. Its role is to confiscate, freeze or seize criminal assets. The Bureau’s statutory remit also includes ensuring that proceeds from criminal activities are subjected to tax and full investigation. The CAB is an expert “in stripping criminals of illegally gained assets, to ensure that life is being made progressively more difficult for those who seek to profit from criminality and the consequent misery of others.”