Swiss court Seizes Abacha’s $350m

Nigeria's former leader General Sani Abacha, file image

General Sani Abacha may have stolen more than $2bn when in office

Nigeria ex-leader Sani Abacha’s son ‘must pay $350m’ – A Swiss court has ordered the seizure of $350m (£212m) in assets from the son of Nigeria’s former military ruler, General Sani Abacha.

Abba Abacha was convicted of being a member of a criminal organisation and given a suspended custodial sentence.

Switzerland began investigating the Abacha family in 1999 and has so far handed back about $700m to Nigeria.

Nigerian state lawyers believe Sani Abacha, who ruled from 1993 until his death in 1998, may have stolen $2.2bn.

The Swiss authorities pursued Abba Abacha for six years before extraditing him from Germany in 2005.

“The examining magistrate sentenced him to a suspended jail term, and ordered the confiscation of his assets of $350m,” Geneva canton’s justice office said in a statement.

“[The money] is held by his criminal organisation and seized through international assistance in Luxembourg and the Bahamas.”

Correspondents say Abba Abacha can appeal against the judgement.