Exposed: How James Ibori Stole Billions and Hid it in Secret Offshore Assets - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Tuesday 5 April 2016

Exposed: How James Ibori Stole Billions and Hid it in Secret Offshore Assets

Exposed: How James Ibori Stole Billions and Hid it in Secret Offshore Assets

Former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori

The #PanamaPaper which is now dubbed the biggest leak in the history of data journalism has shown how former governor of Delta State, James Ibori stole billions of dollars to live a lavish lifestyle.

According to the leaded data, James Ibori is among some prominent Africans named in a newly discovered secret offshore assets scam released by a German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

In what has been termed the biggest leak in the history of data journalism, the German newspaper on Monday  released the Panama Papers, publishing online 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which showed how world leaders, celebrities, athletes, FIFA officials and criminals hid money using anonymous shell corporations across the world.

The Panamanian law firm, regarded as one of the world’s most secretive companies, according to the documents, has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.

The data was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung <> and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with over 100 other media partners in 82 countries.

Newsweek quoting the report disclosed that Ibori was linked to four offshore companies including Stanhope Investments, which he allegedly used to open a Swiss bank account. The account, it added, was used by Ibori to channel funds for the purchase of a $20m private jet.

Ibori was governor between 1999 and 2007. He was convicted in 2012 for fraud totalling nearly £50m  by a London court and is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence in the UK

According to the leaked data, Mossack Fonseca was the registered agent of four offshore companies connected to James Ibori, including Julex Foundation, of which Ibori and family members were beneficiaries.

Julex was the shareholder of Stanhope Investments, a company incorporated in Niue in 2003. Ibori was also connected to Financial Advisory Group Ltd. and Hunglevest Corporation, although Mossack Fonseca’s files do not specify the exact nature of his connection.

In 2008, Mossack Fonseca received a request from the Seychelles government to produce documents as part of a probe by the Crown Prosecution Service, England's principal prosecuting authority, of Ibori and alleged criminal activities.

During his court hearings in 2012 in the United Kingdom, prosecutors claimed that Ibori opened a Swiss bank account in the name of Stanhope Investments through which millions of dollars were later channeled to ultimately buy a $20 million private jet.

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