MONEY LAUNDERING: ABACHA'S SON MISSES GENEVA COURT HEARING
A police court in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday began hearing in an appeal filed by the 41-year-old son of the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, Mr. Abba Abacha, against an order seeking to seize $350m in stolen funds from him.
Swiss newspaper, Le Temps, reports that Abba was not in court because he did not apply for a visa in time. The report said his lawyer asked for an adjournment to enable him to be present.
The British Broadcasting Corporation reports that Swiss authorities pursued Abba for six years before extraditing him from Germany in 2005. He was finally convicted by a court in Geneva in November 2009.
Abba was also convicted of being a member of a criminal organisation and given a suspended custodial sentence.
He was also ordered to return $350m, which was collected with help from Luxembourg and the Bahamas.
Le Temps reports that Swiss prosecutors alleged that Abba used false identities to open more than 30 bank accounts in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and the Bahamas. The funds allegedly belonged to his late father and close relations.
Over two billion Swiss francs were deposited in Switzerland.
Switzerland began investigating the Abacha family in 1999 and has so far returned about $700m to Nigeria. The former head of state, who died in June 1998, is believed to have stolen $2.2bn in public funds, which he stashed in various banks around the world.
Since 1999, Switzerland has restored over $600m to Nigeria.
Le Temps reports that members of the Abacha family used various means to move public funds out of