Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-219
Sani Abacha / France (Seizing on US Claim)
Nigeria
President (1993-1998)
France
Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
2014
Ongoing
Art.16, Art.17, Art.19, Art.20, Art.23
Action Initiated by Foreign Jurisdiction
MLAT
Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Between United States of America and France signed December 10, 1998, U.S.-Fr., Sept. 30, 2004, S. TREATY DOC. NO. 109-13 (2006)
Ongoing case but the Department of Justice press release on March 5, 2014 noted, "The department appreciates the extensive assistance provided by the Governments of Jersey, France and the United Kingdom in this investigation."
Ongoing
Investigation/Asset Tracing/Asset Restraint
[$159,374,531.89 seized in France; amount noted in US entry only to avoid double counting)

See related entry, Sani Abacha / United States Civil Asset Forfeiture case.  According to the US Department of Justice, the civil asset forfeiture complaint filed in November 2013 and unsealed in March 2014, "seeks to forfeit bank accounts and investment portfolios with funds located in Bailiwick of Jersey, France and the United Kingdom. On Feb. 25 and 26, 2014, U.S. arrest warrants for the assets were enforced in Jersey and France though mutual legal assistance requests and in the United Kingdom through litigation brought pursuant to the U.K. Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act."  (Sources: US  Department of Justice, Press release, "U.S. Freezes More Than $458 Million Stolen by Former Nigerian Dictator in Largest Kleptocracy Forfeiture Action Ever Brought in the U.S.," March 5, 2014; see also Order on request of Banque SBA issued by High Court of Paris on April 24, 2014, authorizing the bank to transfer more than $159 million, per criminal seizure order dated February 25, 2014, filed as exhibit in US v. All Assets Held in Account Number 80020796, in name of Doraville Properties Corporation, at Deutsche Bank International, et al, Case No. l:13-cv-01832-JDB (D.D.C.), Warrants of arrest in rem filed July 11, 2014.)

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....

High Court (Paris)