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US takes control of $600m stolen by Nigerian dictator Abacha

Published on Aug 8, 2014 3:56 AM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States has taken control of more than US$480 million (S$600 million) looted by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and his associates after a court ruling, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

The money stolen during Abacha's 1993-1998 de facto presidency of the oil-rich African nation and stashed in banks around the world will be returned to the Nigerian government, the department said in a statement.

"Rather than serve his county, General Abacha used his public office in Nigeria to loot millions of dollars, engaging in brazen acts of kleptocracy," Assistant Attorney-General Leslie Caldwell said in the statement.

US District Judge John Bates in Washington ordered on Wednesday that the funds, frozen by the Justice Department in March, be forfeited to US control.

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