U.S. Recovers Millions of Dollars Stolen from Nigerian Government

The United States has recovered more than $480 million hidden in bank accounts around the world by a former Nigerian dictator and his associates.

A Justice Department news release Thursday said the money represents a portion of the billions of dollars stolen from the people of Nigeria by former Nigerian president Sani Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha, their associate Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and other corrupt individuals.

The department says the money can be used for the benefit of the Nigerian people, but that the ultimate disposition of the funds depends on rulings in several foreign jurisdictions.

Approximately $303 million are in two bank accounts in the British dependency of Jersey, $144 million are in two bank accounts in France, and three other bank accounts in Britain and Ireland have at least $27 million.

Claims to an additional $148 million in four investment portfolios in Britain are pending. 

General Abacha became president of Nigeria through a military coup in November 1993. He held the position until his death in 1998.

VOA News / Aug. 08, 2014 08:04 KST