The United States of America has given the details of how a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison – Madueke , allegedly laundered about $ 144 m , using part of the funds to purchase a yacht , landed properties , furniture and artworks .
According to the US , while she held sway as the Nigerian petroleum minister , Diezani , who was otherwise known as “ the Madam ” or “ Madam D, ” led “ a lavish and privileged lifestyle, ” spending “ more than one million dollars on furniture , artwork , and other furnishings purchased within the Southern District of Texas , and shipped , in part, to London and Abuja , Nigeria . ”
These were contained in a 91 – page “ verified complaint” filed by the US Government before the US District Court , Southern District of Texas , Houston Division , where it is seeking an order to forfeit funds and assets worth $ 144 m linked to Diezani .
The US , in the “ verified complaint” signed by a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation , Elizabeth Crispino , said Diezani allegedly acquired the assets with kickbacks from “ an international conspiracy to obtain lucrative business opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector . ”
The assets , the US stated , were acquired between April 2010 and May 2015 when Diezani was “ overseeing Nigeria ’ s state- owned oil company , the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation . ”
Among the properties , which the US now seeks to be forfeited , are a 65 -metre motor yacht , named M /Y Galactica Star ; two properties known as 807 and 815 Cima Del Mundo Road, Montecito , Calif ; as well as funds in a couple of companies .
The US stated that Diezani , with the help of and in conspiracy with two Nigerian businessmen , Kolawole Akanni Aluko and Olajide Omokore , “ laundered the proceeds of the illicit business opportunities into and through the United States . ”
In the court processes obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday , the US detailed, using tables , the “ living and lifestyle expenses for Alison -Madueke . ”
One table , tagged , ‘ Rental Payments , ’ showed how Aluko and his company , Tracon Investments Limited , helped Diezani to make a total of at least £ 537 , 922 in rental payments for two central London residences both located at 22 St . Edmunds Terrace, London NW 8 7 QQ , where Diezani and her mother stayed between August 2011 and January 2014 .h
Another table , tagged , ‘ Transportation Services ’ , showed how Aluko and his beneficially – owned company , TENKA , helped Diezani to make at least £ 393 , 274 . 32 in payments to a car hire company , the “Chauffeur Company ” , while Omokore and his own company , Energy Property Development Ltd . , also paid at least £ 4 , 424 . 40 to the “ Chauffeur Company ” to convey Diezani and her family about the UK between December 2012 through at least July 2014 .
The FBI agent , Crispino , stated , “ Upon information and belief, the above payments were made corruptly by , on behalf of, or at the direction of Aluko and Omokore for the benefit of Alison – Madueke and /or her family , in return for Alison – Madueke ’ s having improperly influenced the award of the Forcados SAAs to AEDC and in anticipation of or in return for her improperly influencing the award of the Brass SAA .
“In particular , the director of the Chauffeur Company has stated that in or around June 2014 , he was assaulted in the hallway outside of Alison – Madueke ’ s known residence at Flat 19 , 22 St . Edmunds Terrace, London NW 8 7 QQ, by two men known by the director to be Alison -Madueke ’ s associates .
“ This assault occurred as the director of the Chauffeur Company was attempting to deliver a letter concerning approximately £ 224 , 000 in unpaid services provided by his company to Alison – Madueke .
“ The director of the Chauffeur Company has further stated that , upon hearing the commotion, Alison -Madueke herself appeared and instructed her associates to settle the unpaid bill .
“ As the preceding table indicates , roughly one month after the hallway assault , TENKA paid a total of £ 135 , 361 . 48 to the Chauffeur Company . ”
Crispino said Diezani ’ s assets were liable to being forfeited “ under 18 U. S . C. § § 981 ( a )( 1 ) (A) and 981 ( a )( 1 )( C), ” as they were “ derived from , or traceable to the proceeds of ‘ specified unlawful activity, ’ as that term is defined in 18 U. S . C. § 1956 ( c ) (7 ) , or a conspiracy to commit ‘ specified unlawful activity , ’ and as property involved in money laundering violations of 18 U. S . C. §§ 1956 and 1957 . ”
Crispino stated that “Section 1956 ( a )( 2 ) prohibits transferring funds known to be the proceeds of unlawful activity from a place outside the United States to a place in the United States , with knowledge that the transfer is designed in whole or in part to conceal the nature , location , source , ownership, or control of the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity , including the proceeds of an offense against a foreign nation involving ‘ bribery of a public official , or the misappropriation , theft , or embezzlement of public funds by or for the benefit of a public official . ”
Source: The Punch