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CASH GRAB Ireland return €5.4 million in stolen cash to Nigeria after CAB froze accounts

In 2014 US officials passed on information to the CAB who started an investigation into the ill-gotten gains squirrelled away in Irish bank accounts.

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Sani Abacha

Sani Abacha

Sani Abacha

IRELAND sent €5.4 million in seized cash to Nigeria last year after officers from the Criminal Assest Bureau froze bank accounts linked to a former army general.

General Sani Abacha seized power in the west African country in 1993 and remained president until his death in 1998.

During his reign he plundered the public finances using his son Mohammed Sani Abacha, to launder more than $700 million in stolen cash.

In 2014 US officials passed on information to the CAB who started an investigation into the ill-gotten gains squirrelled away in Irish bank accounts.

In 2014, the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the US Department of Justice contacted the Bureau and provided information arising from investigations they conducted.

As a result funds worth $6.5 million were frozen in 2014 and 2015 and the Nigeria government later got a High Court order to have the money returned there.

According to CAB annual report released today the money was paid over in 2020 in what Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee described at the time as “a concrete demonstration of Ireland’s commitment to international cooperation in the fight against corruption.”

It is believed Abacha had managed to steal $1.5 million but died before he could spend any of it launching an international hunt for the money.

Investigation showed how Abachi would sign off on cash consignments which in some cases were shipped by truck from Nigeria’s Central Bank.

Other scams ranged from awarding state contracts to friends at highly inflated prices and then pocketing the difference and demanding foreign companies pay huge bribes to operate in the country.

So far, another $1 billion has been returned to Nigeria from bank accounts in Switzerland.

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