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Details have emerged about how an agency of the US Department of Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) placed former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his family members under close watch in the build-up to the 2019 general elections.

The agency, in the new findings according to Premium Times on Monday, flagged some transactions linked to Atiku as suspicious during its surveillance of the politician’s money movements internationally.

 

The findings further suggest funds linked to Atiku were moved across international borders using Shell companies.

The investigation is said to have covered 16-month collaborative work involving over 400 journalists in 88 countries.

A New-York based bank Habib Bank Limited (HBLNY) opened up its transaction monitoring system following a suspicious activity linked to Atiku.

The former Nigeria’s number two citizen’s company Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Limited (GTCN) is said to have made a wire transfer of $1,018,500 on March 5, 2012 to Tanjay Real Estate Brokers, a company which held a Habib Bank Limited Dubai account.

 

GTCN is a trust corporation incorporated in Nigeria in 2003 to hold Atiku’s 16 per cent stake in Intels Nigeria Limited, an oil and gas logistics firm.

HBLNY said: “An investigation (of the March 2012 wire transfer) identified GTCN as an alleged shell company that has been used to transfer over USD 10 million via wire transfers through U.S. banks on behalf of the former vice-president of Nigeria, Mr Atiku Abubakar.

“HBLNY’s review of public sources revealed that there have been numerous investigations of Mr Abubakar, as senior Politically Exposed Person (PEP), linking him to corruption allegations, possible Foreign Corrupt Practices Act foreign violations and money laundering.”

The suspicious transaction was allegedly for the purchase of a flat in the “World Trade Centre residences” in Dubai for Atiku’s senior wife Rukaiyatu Abubakar through Tanjay.

 

Atiku’s fourth wife Jennifer Douglas was also fingered after the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations indicted GTCN in 2010.

About $25 million out of $40 million identified in the US Senate investigation was wire-transferred into more than 30 US bank accounts opened by Jennifer.

Premium Times said Atiku’s spokesman Paul Ibe declined to comment on the report.

 

 

Gregory University Uturu, Abia State

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