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Swiss authorities freeze accounts of late Nigerian ruler Abacha

The Swiss authorities said Thursday they had frozen the bank accounts held in the name of the late Nigerian military ruler Gen. Sani Abacha and his relatives, the Federal Police Office said Thursday.

This content was published on October 14, 1999 - 17:26

The Swiss authorities said Thursday they had frozen the bank accounts held in the name of the late Nigerian military ruler Gen. Sani Abacha and his relatives, the Federal Police Office said Thursday.

The accounts were provisionally frozen Wednesday after Nigeria asked Switzerland last month to block all accounts and seize bank records relating to the Abacha family.

The police office said the accounts frozen were at four banks in Geneva and one in Zurich.

The Nigerian request was made via a Swiss lawyer and also covered Abacha's former security adviser, Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo, a former minister, Abubakar Attiku Bagudu, four unidentified Nigerian businessmen and "a certain number" of companies, the office said.

They are suspected by Nigeria of "systematically pillaging" the Nigerian central bank over a period of years, the police statement added.

Swiss authorities say they do not at present have information on the amount of money frozen.

Nigeria has three months to present a formal request for legal assistance, and will have to specify a link between investigations in the West African country and the blocked assets.

Abacha's five-year rule ended suddenly in June 1998 after the former dictator died of an apparent heart attack.

From staff and wire reports.


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