A London court on Monday, July 24, ordered Bhadresh Gohil, ex-lawyer of former Governor of Delta state, James Ibori to pay around 28 million pounds (around $36 million) for helping him to hide funds gained illegally.
59-year-old Gohil was convicted in the UK in 2010 of money laundering, prejudicing a money laundering investigation, and conspiracy to defraud. He was sentenced to more than 10 years imprisonment.
His co-defendant James Ibori, 61, a former governor of Delta State, admitted conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to defraud, and conspiracy to make false instruments in 2012. It was stated at the time that he used a sophisticated scheme to launder the proceeds of his crime, one that included his wife, sister, and lover.
The court ruled that Ibori used his position as governor to ‘steal millions to fund a lavish and luxurious lifestyle’ by buying properties in London, Washington DC, and Texas. In February 2012, Ibori was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He returned to Nigeria after serving that term.
The Crown Prosecution Service announced yesterday that, following confiscation proceedings at Southwark Crown Court, Gohil was found to have benefited from his offending to the sum of £42,424,037.01. The judge determined he has available assets of £28,191,797.15 to pay a confiscation order or serve six additional years. Ibori was ordered to pay £101,514,315.21 or face an additional eight years in prison.
Adrian Foster, the chief crown prosecutor of the CPS Proceeds of crime division, said:
‘This was one of our largest international cases and illustrates how robustly the CPS tackles international illicit finance and corruption.’ The amount that both defendants have benefited from their criminality has been highly contested, but thanks to the hard work of our dedicated team and that of the National Crime Agency, we have been able to uncover the full extent of their corruption.
‘This has led to the making of confiscation orders of over £128m, which will ultimately result in the return of funds back to the people of Nigeria.’