WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government has frozen more than $458 million in corruption proceeds deposited by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha (SAH'-nee ah-BA'-chah) and conspirators in banks around the world.
It's the largest civil forfeiture action ever brought by the Justice Department to recover funds from foreign official corruption.
A government complaint in federal court says Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha and others laundered criminal proceeds through the purchase of bonds backed by the United States using U.S. financial institutions.
The complaint seeks forfeiture of bank accounts in France, the United Kingdom, the British dependency of the Bailiwick of Jersey, and five corporations registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Abacha took over as president of Nigeria through a military coup in 1993. He died in 1998.