Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-164
Sani Abacha (Luxembourg)
Nigeria
President
Luxembourg
Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
2000
Ongoing
Art.16, Art.17, Art.19, Art.20, Art.23
Yes
Criminal Prosecution and Forfeiture; Actions Initiated by Foreign Jurisdiction
Letter of Request
Letter of Request
Ongoing Case
Ongoing
On Appeal
$400,000,000 (funds frozen in Switzerland)
Ongoing
N/A

According to Attorney Enrico Monfrini, on February 20, 2000, a Letter Rogatory was sent to Luxembourg and within one month, Luxembourg froze $630 million in eight accounts at the M.M. Warburg & Co Luxembourg S.A. (Source: Enrico Monfrini, "The Abacha Case," in Mark Pieth, ed., Recovering Stolen Assets [Peter Lang, 2008]). According to the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as of September 30, 2009, $400 million was frozen in Luxembourg and asset recovery effort was ongoing. According to the UK Anti-Corruption Forum November 2009 newsletter. Yves Aeschlimann, the Investigating Magistrate overseeing the Swiss criminal case, found Abba Abacha (son of late President Sani Abacha) guilty of corruption, sentenced him to a suspended prison term and ordered confiscation of $350m (EUR 235m, GBP 210m) in funds held in Luxembourg and the Bahamas. The funds had already been frozen by the investigation. As of October 2013, the case is ongoing.

According to a 2008 article by Attorney Enrico Monfrini, an appeal was pending before the Nigerian Supreme Court in the criminal cases arising from charges filed in 2000 and 2001 against Mr. Abacha's sons and associate. (Source: Enrico Monfrini, "The Abacha Case," in Mark Pieth, ed., Recovering Stolen Assets (Peter Lang, 2008), accessed at http://www.mcswisslaw.com/pages_e/2008%20Monfrini%20-%20The%20Abacha%20C.... According to BBC News, in September 2011, the Swiss supreme court ordered the retrial of Mr. Abba Abacha, son of former President Abacha, on the basis that he had been unable to obtain a visa to attend his trial. (Source: BBC News, "Swiss court orders retrial of Nigeria's Abba Abacha," September 20, 2011.)

Special Panel established to investigate Abacha looting
Monfrini Crettol & Partners (Attorneys Enrico Monfrini and Yves Klein)