JUST IN: Pay $130Million Now Or Face Eight-Year Jail Sentence, Court Tells Ibori
A UK court has ordered that Britain should confiscate $130 million from former Delta state governor, James Ibori, who abused his office to get rich and laundered millions in Britain and elsewhere.
In a court order issued in London on Friday, Judge David Tomlinson of Southwark Crown Court said Ibori should pay the sum immediately or face an eight-year jail sentence, Reuters reports.
Ibori has said he would appeal against the confiscation order, one of the biggest issued against an individual in recent British legal history.
The judge formally declared that Ibori had benefited from criminal conduct in the sum of 101.5 million pounds.
“I make a confiscation order in that sum because Mr Ibori has not satisfied me nor really has he tried to satisfy me that he is incapable of paying the full amount,” the judge said.
“There is no reason to allow time for the sum to be paid. I set a term of eight years’ imprisonment in default of payment.”
Ibori’s transfer to the UK in 2011 after he was arrested from his Dubai home by the UAE security.
Ibori arrived in the UK via Heathrow airport after the London Metropolitan Police foiled his plot to evade his impending trial in the UK. Upon arrival he was taken to London police station and processed for his appearance in court. Ibori was subsequently slammed with 25 counts of money laundering and fraud.
With its highly developed financial and legal services and lucrative property market, Britain is a global money-laundering hub, but it is rare for the foreign kleptocrats it attracts to be prosecuted and Ibori’s case remains an outlier.
After more than a decade of legal wrangling and court delays, attempts by prosecutors to confiscate funds considered to be the benefits of Ibori’s criminality now appear close to conclusion.
Ibori was governor of oil-rich Delta State from 1999 to 2007 and was extradited from Dubai to Britain in 2011.
He pleaded guilty in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money laundering and received a 13-year jail sentence of which he served half, as is standard.
The case was hailed as a landmark in the fight against corruption in Britain, a global money-laundering hub, and in Nigeria, where self-enrichment by the ruling elite has been one of the main factors holding back development for decades.