Bhadresh Gohil, a 58-year-old lawyer of Indian origin, has been ordered by a UK court to pay over £28 million in costs related to criminal activities.
The charges against Gohil stem from a case involving corruption allegations against James Ibori, a former governor of Delta State.
According to the Press Trust of India, Gohil, 58, was found guilty in connection with a corruption case that revolved around his client Ibori.
The charges included money laundering, obstructing an investigation into money laundering, and conspiring to defraud. These offenses led to his conviction in 2010, resulting in a 10-year prison sentence.
Following lengthy confiscation proceedings at Southwark Crown Court in London on Monday, the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service revealed that Gohil was deemed to have benefitted from £42.4 million in connection with the crimes.
The judge concluded that he possesses available assets worth £28.2 million, which he must pay as part of the Confiscation Order. Failure to do so would result in an additional six-year prison term.
“This was one of our largest international cases and illustrates how robustly the CPS tackles international illicit finance and corruption,” The PTI quoted Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor in the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division as saying.
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“The amount that both defendants have benefited from their criminality has been highly contested, but thanks to the hard work of our dedicated team and that of the National Crime Agency, we have been able to uncover the full extent of their corruption.”
“This has led to the making of Confiscation Orders of over 128 million pounds, which will ultimately result in the return of funds back to the people of Nigeria.”
At the age of 61, Ibori was discovered to have engaged in embezzlement during his tenure as Delta State’s governor, aiming to sustain an opulent lifestyle that included acquiring lavish properties in Texas, London, and Washington, DC, along with luxury vehicles like Mercedes and Bentleys.
The case against him reached its conclusion last Friday, as the judge ruled that he had systematically siphoned off millions of pounds from the state and its citizens.
Consequently, the judge issued an order, demanding Ibori to pay back over £101 million or else face an additional eight years in prison.
Testimony presented in court revealed that Ibori employed an intricate scheme to launder the ill-gotten gains, involving his wife, sister, and lover.
In February 2012, he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to launder money, money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy to create false instruments, resulting in a 13-year prison sentence.
After serving his term, Ibori returned to Nigeria.
During his time as Delta State’s governor, the Metropolitan Police investigated allegations of corruption and money laundering.
The fraudulent sale and purchase of shares in Ibori’s mobile phone company, “V Mobile,” by Delta and Akwa Ibom states garnered particular attention.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) discovered that money had been laundered through numerous offshore companies, bank accounts, and UK-based entities by Gohil.
Gohil’s involvement was found to have facilitated Ibori in concealing his criminal proceeds and defrauding the people of Delta State.
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