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Ibori Risks Losing $130 Million as UK Judge Orders Confiscation

On Friday, Judge David Tomlinson of Southwark Crown Court in London issued a significant ruling, ordering the confiscation of £101.5 million pounds ($130.34 million) from former Delta state governor, James Ibori.

In naira terms, the confiscated amount stands at N101,1 billion, which is approximately one-ninth of the amount shared by the three tiers of the Nigerian government on Thursday.

Judge Tomlinson was clear in his directive, stating that Ibori must promptly pay the sum or face an eight-year jail sentence. Ibori, who currently resides in Nigeria, has expressed his intention to appeal the confiscation order in the UK’s highest court.

In a Facebook post on Thursday night, ahead of the confiscation order, Ibori wrote, “Finally, the shenanigans in the Southwark Crown Court are drawing to a close. Judge Tomlinson is due to make a confiscation order which should be both realizable and not punitive.

However, after what transpired in court today, my hopes are rapidly fading for any degree of fairness. In the 2 years it has taken to write this judgment, it seems apparent that he has forgotten many of the salient points and is prioritizing expediency over justice. The next steps will be to take my fight for justice to the highest courts in the UK.”

James Ibori’s legal troubles date back to 2012 when he was convicted in London for fraud and money-laundering, leading to a 13-year jail sentence. After serving approximately five years, he returned to Nigeria in 2017.

Notably, he did not attend Thursday’s hearing, during which lead prosecution counsel Jonathan Kinnear argued that the total amount to be confiscated from Ibori should amount to £101.5 million. Kinnear further contended that failure to comply with the order should result in a prison sentence ranging from five to ten years.

The case remains closely watched, and Ibori’s appeal process will be under scrutiny as he seeks justice in the UK’s highest courts.

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