More than $267m embezzled by a Nigerian dictator and hidden in Jersey bank accounts has been seized by authorities and is now being held by the government.
The money - which totals $267,751,992.02 - was the result of corruption during the military regime of General Sani Abacha and placed in accounts held locally by a British Virgin Islands company, Doraville Properties Corporation.
It had been laundered through the US banking system by people including president Abacha's son Mohammed, before being transferred to Jersey.
Jersey has once again demonstrated its commitment to tackling international financial crime and money laundering"
The sum will be held in Jersey while an asset-sharing agreement is struck between the USA, Nigeria and the Island. Any money that Jersey does keep will be put into the Criminal Confiscation Fund, which is used to pay for a variety of projects.
It is expected that even more money held by Doraville is likely to be seized and paid into the Civil Asset Recovery Fund in the future, according to local media.
"In restraining the funds at the request of the United States of America, through whose banking system the funds were laundered prior to arriving here, and in achieving the payment of the bulk of the funds into the Civil Asset Recovery Fund, Jersey has once again demonstrated its commitment to tackling international financial crime and money laundering," Attorney General Robert MacRae said.
In 2014, at the request of the US authorities, the Island's Attorney General applied for, and the Royal Court granted, a restraining order over the Jersey bank account balance of Doraville. The purpose of the restraining order was to preserve the money until a final civil asset recovery order could be registered in the Royal Court.
The court battle lasted for years until the case went before the Privy Council - Jersey's ultimate appellate court. In February 2018 the Privy Council announced its rejection of this final legal challenge.
Last week, Solicitor General Mark Temple gave a presentation in Vienna, Austria, about Doraville at a UN conference on corruption.
He said: ‘The conference of the States Parties to the United Nations convention against corruption is an important international forum concerned with anti-corruption measures and asset returns. The conference was a good opportunity to demonstrate progress with the Doraville case, as well as Jersey's determination to deal with international financial crime more generally.'
It is estimated that General Sani Abacha, who led a military regime that ruled the country from 1993 to 1998, stole £2.2bn from the country during his reign through theft and inflated invoices.