The United States is seeking to recover $144M in assets from Diezani and her cronies.
This time, it’s the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) that is dragging her all over the place.
If you’ve been under a rock, Diezani (yeah, we love to call her by her first name around here) has been accused in the past by anti-graft agencies back home, of looting Nigeria blind during her stint as petroleum minister between 2011 and 2015.
She didn’t do it alone, though, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Two cronies--Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore--have always been mentioned as accomplices; as Diezani allegedly stole her country silly; concealing her illicit wealth in banks at home and abroad and purchasing choice real estate, penthouses and luxury furniture across the world for effect.
Here’s all you should know about what the US Department of Justice is saying concerning your “Woman Crush Wednesday” otherwise known as Diezani….
1. Between 2011 and 2015, Aluko and Omokore paid bribes to Diezani. In return, the former minister ensured that shell companies owned by both men secured billion dollar contracts to lift Nigeria’s oil.
2. With Diezani as oil minister, Nigeria spent over 352 million barrels of oil worth a total of N35B on swap deals.
3. Under the swap arrangement, Nigeria was exchanging its crude oil for refined petrol in order to shore up local demand.
4. Aluko and Omokore’s companies, namely; Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Ltd. and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd. (the Atlantic Companies) were ultimate beneficiaries of the swap deals under the Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAAs) entered with the federal government.
5. The Atlantic companies were required to finance the exploration and production operations of eight on-shore oil and gas blocks.
6. For financing these operations, the companies were expected to receive a portion of the oil and gas produced in Nigeria.
7. However, the Atlantic companies only financed a fraction of the oil operations and in most cases, never financed any of the operations.
8. Under the agreement entered with the federal government, the Atlantic companies were expected to pay $120M as entry fees to qualify as players in Nigeria’s lucrative oil sector.
They never paid that money.
9. Without paying the fees, the Atlantic companies were permitted to lift and sell more than $1.5B worth of Nigerian crude oil.
10. Through shell companies, Aluko and Omokore laundered billions of dollars accruing from Nigeria’s crude into the US and Europe.
11. Both men thereafter purchased property worth millions of dollars in London for Diezani and her family.
According to the US Dept of Justice, both men often called Diezani “the Madam” or “Madam D”.
12. Omokore and Aluko purchased a total of four residential properties in and around London worth $11.45M.
They furnished these apartments with luxury items, including exotic art work.
13. As stated earlier, Omokore and Aluko used a series of shell companies and layered financial transactions to conceal the nature, location, source, and/or ownership of the proceeds of their illicit transactions.
14. With part of the proceeds from their business dealings with Diezani, Aluko went on to purchase Galactica Star, a luxury yacht.
The yacht cost $80M.
15. The yacht has been described as “a stupendous luxury on water”.
It is the same yacht once rented by Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce for close to a million dollars during a holiday last year. It also hosted Beyonce’s 32nd birthday in 2013.
16. Both men also bought a $50M luxury condo apartment in New York.
17. The New York condo can be found at One57, located opposite Carnegie Hall in midtown Manhattan.
The building currently holds the record for the most-expensive residential sale in New York following a $100.5M apartment purchase in 2014.
18. Aluko and Omokore conspired to purchase real property at Flat 5 Park View, 83-86 Prince Albert Road, London NW8 7RU (“Flat 5 Park View”) for £3,750,000; 58 Harley House, Marylebone Road, London NW1 5HL (“58 Harley House”) for £2,800,000; 9 Chester Close North, London NW1 4JE (“39 Chester Close North”) for £1,730,000 and £11,530,000 worth of London Real Estate for the benefit of Diezani.
19. The US DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, is seeking to recover $144M in assets from Diezani which it will then return to Nigeria.
20. US Assistant Attorney-General, Kenneth Blanco, said the recovered funds will be returned to Nigeria.
Blanco said: “Corrupt foreign officials and business executives should make no mistake: if illicit funds are within the reach of the United States, we will seek to forfeit them and to return them to the victims from whom they were stolen.”