More Abacha funds returned

USD 50 million transferred to BIS after out-of-court settlement

Press Release, FOJ, 19.04.2004

Bern, 19.4.2004. Nigeria has reached an out-of-court settlement with one of the individuals involved in the Abacha case. USD 50 million of the Abacha funds frozen in Switzerland have been returned to Nigeria as a result.

The Nigerian authorities have concluded their investigations into the individual involved in the settlement. In return, assets of USD 50 million that had been frozen in Switzerland have been transferred to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in favour of Nigeria. The Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has informed the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) that the funds will be used for social, health and educational projects, as suggested by Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala when she visited Bern on 20 November 2003.

Last December, a collection order issued by the public prosecutor's office in Canton Geneva resulted in around USD 85 million being transferred to the BIS in favour of Nigeria. The collection order was based on a judicial ruling against a British financial intermediary who had been accused of money laundering. Approximately USD 500 million now remains frozen in Switzerland. The FOJ will take a decision in the course of this year on the restitution of the remaining Abacha funds to Nigeria.

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