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Nigeria ex-governor sentenced to 13 years in prison for fraud

James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State [official website] in Nigeria, was convicted in a UK court on Tuesday on 10 counts of money laundering and conspiracy to commit fraud and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Ibori, who governed the oil-rich Delta State from 1999-2007, was convicted by the Southwark Crown Court [official website] for fraud charges totaling nearly $250 million. Among Ibori's most extravagant uses of public funds for his own private enjoyment were a fleet of armored Range Rovers for approximately $900,000, a private jet for $19 million and a $5 million mansion in Johannesburg, South Africa [Court News UK report]. The prosecuting lawyer declared that Ibori "deliberately and systematically" defrauded the people he was elected to represent [BBC report]. British central fraud authorities plan to confiscate Ibori's assets.

In February, Ibori pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to all 10 counts of fraud and money laundering in a UK court. 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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