Former Nigerian governor ordered to pay back $130 mln by UK court

A court order issued in London on Friday stated that Britain will attempt to confiscate £101.5 million ($130 million) from James Ibori, a former Nigerian state governor who exploited his position to amass wealth and laundered substantial amounts of money in the UK and other locations.

Judge David Tomlinson, presiding over Southwark Crown Court, has ruled that James Ibori must pay the specified sum without delay or else he could face an eight-year prison sentence.

Ibori who is in Nigeria has expressed his intention to appeal against the confiscation order, which is one of the largest ever issued against an individual in recent British legal history.

The judge officially declared that James Ibori had derived benefits from criminal activities amounting to £101.5 million.

“I make a confiscation order in that sum because Mr Ibori has not satisfied me nor really has he tried to satisfy me that he is incapable of paying the full amount,” the judge said.

“There is no reason to allow time for the sum to be paid. I set a term of eight years’ imprisonment in default of payment.”

The judge added that there was no justification to grant additional time for the payment of the sum and imposed an eight-year prison term in the event of non-payment.

Formerly serving as governor of oil-producing Delta State from 1999 to 2007, Ibori was extradited from Dubai to Britain in 2011. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud and money laundering, receiving a 13-year prison sentence, of which he served half.

The case was celebrated as a pivotal moment in the battle against corruption in Britain, a major global money-laundering center, as well as in Nigeria, where the self-enrichment of the ruling elite has long hindered the country’s development progress for decades.

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