Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-24
James Ibori / Bhadresh Gohil (India)
Nigeria
Solicitor to James Ibori, Delta State Governor (1999-2007)
India
Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
2008
Ongoing
Art.20, Art.23
Yes
Criminal Prosecution and Forfeiture (United Kingdom)
Unknown
Unspecified
Ongoing Case
Ongoing
Investigation/Asset Tracing/Asset Restraint
Unspecified
Ongoing
N/A

According to the 2008 Restraint Order issued by the UK High Court, among the assets ordered restrained were two properties located in India:  "' b) Flat X12. Ashoka, A building, Panch Tantra Road, Verova M, Mumbai, India, 401105 registered in the name of Babulal Gahil, c) Divine Sheraton Plaza Wing B, No 33, 3rd floor, Jesal Park, Bhayander East India, 404105 registered in the name of Babulal Gahil."  (Source: UNITED STATES’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ENFORCE AND REGISTER FOREIGN RESTRAINING ORDERS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2467(d)(3) AND STATEMENT OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF. IN RE ENFORCEMENT OF RESTRAINING ORDERS ISSUED BY THE HIGH COURT OF ENGLAND AND WALES, QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION, UNITED KINGDOM, AND THE CROWN COURT OF ENGLAND WALES, UNITED KINGDOM, Case No. 12-mc-289. (D.D.C., May 16, 2012.), Exhibit .B, UK High Court Order of Restraint against Mr. Gohil, November 17, 2008.)

 

In July 2013, the US Government filed a response to the Court Order to Show Cause, urging the court not to terminate the action and to retain jurisdiction over the matter until confiscation proceedings in the UK conclude.  As of June 2016, the US case was ongoing.  (Source:  In Re: Enforcement of Restraining Order Issued by the High Court of England and Wales, Case No. 1:12-mc-00289 (D.D.C.), US Government Reponse to Order to Show Cause filed July 16, 2013; Court Docket Report as of June 2016.)  According to news reports, the UK confiscation hearing that was rescheduled for June 2016 was again postponed.  (Source: Today (Nigeria), "London court postpones James Ibori's confiscation hearing," June 10, 2016; Vanguard, "London judge adjourns Ibori’s case to June 6, 2016," April 14, 2015.)

According to a May 2014 statement by Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, a lower court decision to strike out "all 170-count charge of money laundering preferred against former governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, a three-man panel of justices at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal today, May 15, 2014 ruled that the ex- governor who is currently serving a 13-year jail term in a London prison, has a case to answer."  (Source: EFCC, "Money Laundering:  Ibori Has Case to Answer - Appeals Court," May 15, 2014.)   According to the United States' Ex Parte Application to Enforce and Register Foreign Restraining Orders, Mr. Gohil was convicted in the UK "in November 2010 of money laundering and prejudicing a money laundering investigation, and in December 2010, pleaded guilty to an additional eight offenses related to the V Mobile fraud. Gohil was sentenced to ten years imprisonment."  (Source: UNITED STATES’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ENFORCE AND REGISTER FOREIGN RESTRAINING ORDERS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2467(d)(3) AND STATEMENT OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF. IN RE ENFORCEMENT OF RESTRAINING ORDERS ISSUED BY THE HIGH COURT OF ENGLAND AND WALES, QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION, UNITED KINGDOM, AND THE CROWN COURT OF ENGLAND WALES, UNITED KINGDOM, Case No. 12-mc-289. (D.D.C., May 16, 2012.)

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Nigeria)
Crown Prosecution Service (United Kingdom)
Southwark Crown Court (United Kingdom)