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Nigeria ex-governor pleads guilty to money laundering charges in UK court

The former governor of Delta state [official website] in Nigeria, James Ibori, pleaded guilty in a UK court on Monday to 10 counts of money laundering and conspiracy to commit fraud. The former governor of Nigeria's oil-rich state is one of the wealthiest, most influential political figures in the country. Ibori was extradited to London to stand trial after British police accused him of laundering [BBC report] $250 million during an eight-year period. Before the UK trial commenced, Ibori switched his plea to guilty for laundering money in the UK through off-shore accounts, in order to obtain a better sentence for the charges against him. Two other former governors of Nigeria have been convicted of corruption charges. Sentencing for Ibori is scheduled to take place on April 16.

In October 2010, the Dubai Court of First Instance [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that Ibori could be extradited to the UK to face charges of money laundering, fraud and embezzlement. Ibori was arrested in the United Arab Emirates by INTERPOL [official website] in May 2010. Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) [official website] accused Ibori of stealing Delta state funds worth $292 million during his time in office. These funds were allegedly filtered through banks in the UK, which led the UK Metropolitan Police [official website] to issue a warrant for his arrest. Ibori appealed the decision to Dubai's Civil Court of Appeal.

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