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June 2, 2023
The Nation

U.S recovers $53m fraud proceeds linked to Diezani, Aluko and Omokore

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, has been announced by the U.S Justice Department. 

The US government in 2017, filed a suit to recover $144 million in assets that were purportedly acquired with proceeds from a shady scheme in Nigeria’s oil industry.

It was alleged at the time that Kola Aluko, a Nigerian businessman, and Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited paid bribes between 2011 and 2015 to Diezani in exchange for contracts.

She then allegedly used her position to secure contracts for Aluko and Omokri’s shell companies through a subsidiary of the defunct Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), now the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.

The US department of justice in a statement released earlier this week, disclosed that the forfeited assets which are “proceeds of foreign corruption offenses” include $53.1 million in cash, plus a promissory note with a principal value of $16 million”. 

The statement added; 

“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.

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“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.”

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