James Ibori, 51, is said to have personally pocketed £50million of cash stolen from the west African nation’s oil-rich Delta State during his eight-year tenure.
The former £5,000-a-year Wickes cashier blew millions on luxury homes, a £12.6million private jet, fees at some of the UK’s most expensive boarding schools for his children, first-class travel and exclusive hotels.
|James Ibori, 51, of Hampstead, London, is said to have personally pocketed £50million of cash stolen from the west African nation's oil-rich Delta State during his eight-year tenure|
|The former Wickes cashier blew millions on luxury homes, a £12.6million private jet, fees at some of the UK's most expensive boarding schools for his children and exclusive hotels|
Described as one of Nigeria’s most influential and wealthy politicians, Ibori rigged lucrative state contracts with the help of his wife, mistress, sister, and an inner circle of corrupt officials and lifted money straight out of state funds.
He also sold £23million of state-owned shares in telecoms company Vee Mobile to fund a lavish lifestyle, including £125,000 monthly credit card bills while his people languished in poverty.
Ibori, who now lives in Hampstead, north west London, was sentenced to 13 years behind bars in April 2012 after admitting a raft of fraud and money laundering offences.
He is due to face a confiscation hearing at Southwark Crown Court but it was claimed today that he did not make a single penny from the £157million fraud.
Applying to have confiscation proceedings thrown out, Ivan Krolick, defending, said Ibori’s pleas of guilt were not an admission that he personally profited from the scam.
|Ibori owned a £120,000 Bentley, a £340,000 Mercedes Maybach that was shipped direct to his £3.2million mansion in Johannesburg and a range of homes including one in Dorset, pictured|
The former £5,000-a-year Wickes cashier owned a £600,000 fleet of armoured Range Rovers and sold £23million of state-owned shares to fund a lavish lifestyle, including £125,000 monthly credit card bills
‘It gives rise to the proceeds of crime.
‘The Crown has been taken wholly by surprise that Mr Krolick should address the court and say that there was no evidence in effect that Mr Ibori benefited’.
Nigerian-born Ibori moved to the UK in the 1980s where he married his wife, Theresa, and worked as a cashier at Wickes in Ruislip, Middlesex.
In 1990 the pair were convicted of stealing goods from the store and fined £300. A year later Ibori was fined £100 for handling a stolen credit card before he moved back to his homeland.
Ibori was elected as governor of Delta State in 1999 after tricking his way into power by hiding details of his previous convictions in the UK for theft and changing his age.
In 2003, he was re-elected as governor for another four year term, after failing to disclose his previous convictions and financial status.
|Ibori, 51, who now lives in Hampstead, north west London, pictured, was previously convicted of stealing goods from home-improvement store Wickes and handling a stolen credit card|
|Ibori, described as one of Nigeria's most influential and wealthy politicians, bought a £120,000 Bentley, pictured, a £340,000 Mercedes Maybach and a £600,000 fleet of armoured Range Rovers|
In one instance he rigged the tendering process for state contracts in cahoots with his mistress Udoumaka Okoronkwo, who would be due to face confiscation proceedings alongside Ibori.
The couple used Okoronkwo’s companies Sagicon, Rivbbed and Saagaris - the latter of which their four-month old love-child was named as a director of - to ‘bid’ for inflated deals to provide items to the state including china and vehicles.
The money was then channelled out of Nigeria before it was laundered through a series of off-shore trusts and companies.
Ibori was also helped to steal the cash by his wife Theresa, sister Christine Ibori-Ibie, and a series of corrupt professionals - UK London based lawyer, Bhadresh Gohil, fiduciary agent Daniel Benedict McCann and corporate financier, Lambertus De Boer.
|Ibori was also helped to steal the cash by his sister Christine Ibori-Ibie, whose plush home is pictured above, wife Theresa and a series of corrupt professionals including London based lawyer Bhadresh Gohil|
The case was reopened in April 2010 by the EFCC before Ibori fled to Dubai. He was finally extradited back to the UK in April 2011.
Ibori admitted ten offences relating to conspiracy to launder funds from Delta State, substantive counts of money laundering and one count of obtaining a money transfer by deception and fraud.
He was excused from attending today’s hearing and Judge Anthony Pitts is expected to rule on Friday whether he will face a full confiscation hearing.