Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-165
Sani Abacha / Abubakar Bagudu
Nigeria
President (Abacha,1993-1998) / Associate (Bagudu)
Jersey
Undertaking Recovery Effort, Location of Recovery Effort, Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
1999
2003
Art.16, Art.17, Art.19, Art.20, Art.23
Yes
Criminal Prosecution and Forfeiture; Private Civil Action
MLAT
Unspecified
"The Abacha case is a clear example of the benefit of international cooperation to which the Island is committed. Given the nature of business in Jersey, the investigation of serious financial crime inevitably involves liaison with other jurisdictions, both to provide assistance to other countries, and to obtain assistance from them. The Serious Crime Group continues to assist other countries in fighting crime and uses its close links with other nations to obtain evidence to combat crime in the Island." (Source: Attorney General's Annual Review 2003).
Completed
Assets Returned to Victim or Requesting Jurisdiction
Yes
Part of worldwide settlement, with recovered funds to be used to fund projects in the health, education, water, electricity and road sectors; monitoring responsbility held by the World Bank. (Source: "Utilization of Repatriated Abacha Loot, Results of the Field Monitoring Exercise," Report Prepared by the World Bank with Cooperation from the Federal Ministry of Finance (December 2006)).

Jersey Attorney General's Annual Review for 2003, the report noted that "2003 saw Jersey’s long running investigation into Nigerian corruption approach its climax. Working closely with the present Nigerian authorities, the U.S. authorities and countries across Western Europe, Serious Crime Group lawyers played a direct and crucial role in the repatriation of some U.S.$160 million of money embezzled from the people of Nigeria and channelled through Jersey by the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, and his henchmen. Further repatriations of stolen funds are expected to follow in the months ahead." (Source: Attorney General's Annual Review 2003, at 6-7, accessed at http://www.gov.je/SiteCollectionDocuments/Government%20and%20administrat....) According to Attorney Enrico Monfrini, the Jersey authorities had informally frozen the $160 million. In 2003, Abubakar Bagudu, an associate of Mr. Abacha, was arrested and extradited from Houston, Texas at the request of Jersey. Mr. Bagudu settled with the Nigerian government, agreeing to return the $160 million in exchange for deportation to Nigeria. (Source: Enrico Monfrini, "The Abacha Case," in Mark Pieth, ed., Recovering Stolen Assets (Peter Lang, 2008)).

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....

Special Panel established to investigate Abacha looting
Attorney General's Office
Jersey: Attorney General's Office, Serious Crime Group; United States: United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas; Civil: Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge (Attorneys James Maton and Tim Daniel); Monfrini Crettol & Partners (Attorneys Enrico Monfrini and Yves Klein)
Jersey Royal Court; United States: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas