More than US$267 million, linked to a corrupt former Nigerian President, has been recovered by Jersey following years of court battles.
David O’Mahony successfully represented the US Department of Justice and the Jersey Solicitor General throughout these proceedings.
A US Federal Court established the money to be the result of corruption in Nigeria during the military regime of General Sani Abacha. It had been laundered through the US banking system before being transferred to Jersey.
In 2014, at the request of the US Authorities, the Attorney General applied for a restraining order – which the Royal Court granted – over the Jersey bank account balance of Doraville, a BVI company. This was to preserve funds until a final civil asset recovery order could be registered in the Royal Court.
Doraville applied to the Royal Court for the restraining order to be discharged but the application was dismissed in July 2016, when the Royal Court ruled the restraint order was lawful.
The company then challenged the Royal Court’s decision by taking the case to Jersey’s Court of Appeal but was once again unsuccessful.
Following the decision of Jersey’s Court of Appeal, Doraville made an application to appeal the restraining order to the Privy Council, Jersey’s ultimate appellate court. The Privy Council backed Jersey’s decision and rejected this final legal challenge.
Further monies held by Doraville are likely to be recovered and paid into the Civil Asset Recovery Fund in the future.
They will be returned to the Federal Republic of Nigeria through an asset sharing agreement which is due to be negotiated between the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the United States of America and the Government of Jersey.
David O’Mahony was instructed by the Jersey Solicitor General and the United States Department of Justice. This case is part of the substantial international investigation into Abacha money laundering which involved Collingwood Thompson QC and David O’Mahony. The United States proceedings began following advice from Collingwood Thompson QC and David O’Mahony.
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