Switzerland to return $380 million of Abacha's loot to Nigeria

Former Nigerian military ruler, Sani Abacha, walks with members of his army staff, in a file photo.
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GENEVA (Reuters) - Geneva's public prosecutor will send $380 million confiscated from the family of Nigeria's former military ruler Sani Abacha to Nigeria and closed a 16-year investigation into his funds, the prosecutor's office said. Abacha stole as much as $5 billion of public money during his five years running Africa's top oil producing country from 1993 until his death in 1998, according to the corruption watchdog Transparency International. The return of the $380 million follows an agreement between Nigeria and the Abacha family in July last year, the prosecutor's statement said. The agreement provides for Nigeria to receive the frozen funds in return for dropping a complaint against Abba Abacha, Sani's son. He was charged by a Swiss court with money-laundering, fraud and forgery in April 2005, after being extradited from Germany, and subsequently spent 561 days in custody. In 2006 Switzerland ordered funds held by him in Luxembourg to be confiscated. The return of the funds is conditional on effective monitoring by the World Bank of how the funds are used.

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