The United States (US) department of justice has announced the final resolution of two civil cases seeking the forfeiture of the luxury assets that were laundered in and through the country in a case involving Diezani Alison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum resources, and her associates.
Diezani’s associates who were named in the forfeiture case are Kola Aluko, a Nigerian businessman, and Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited.
According to the department, the forfeited assets were the “proceeds of foreign corruption offenses”.
In a statement released on its website on Monday, the US department of justice disclosed that “roughly $53.1 million in cash, plus a promissory note with a principal value of $16 million” have been recovered as part of “proceeds of illicitly awarded contracts” involving the trio — Diezeani, Aluko, and Omokore.
“According to court documents, from 2011 to 2015, Nigerian businessmen Kolawole Akanni Aluko and Olajide Omokore conspired with others to pay bribes to Nigeria’s former minister for petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who oversaw Nigeria’s state-owned oil company,” the statement reads.
“In return, Alison-Madueke used her influence to steer lucrative oil contracts to companies owned by Aluko and Omokore. The proceeds of those illicitly awarded contracts totaling more than $100 million were then laundered in and through the United States and used to purchase various assets through shell companies, including luxury real estate in California and New York as well as the Galactica Star, a 65-meter superyacht.
“The real estate was also used as collateral for loans to Aluko and shell companies he controlled. As part of the forfeiture process, those lien holders were paid.