The British government has handed back around £4.2m in assets stolen by a former Nigerian governor to his home country.
James Ibori, who was governor of the oil-rich Delta State from 1999 to 2007, was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in 2012 on 10 counts of fraud and money laundering.
He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, of which he served four years.
Prosecutors accused him of stealing around £117m from the state, which is the source of much of Nigeria’s oil.
So far £4.2m has been recovered from Ibori and his associates following operations by law enforcement agencies, who identified assets bought in Britain with illegal funds.
A Bombardier Challenger private jet was among the items listed in court documents for a confiscation order against the former government.
A spokesperson for Nigeria’s attorney general confirmed the £4.2m had been received. The funds were seized from Ibori’s family and associates, with more money expected to be recovered from Ibori himself.
Ibori moved to London in the 1980s, taking a job as a cashier in a DIY store. In 1991 he was convicted for stealing from the store, after which he returned to Nigeria and became involved in politics.
During his campaign for Delta State governor Ibori lied about his conviction, which would have banned him from standing for office.
After taking up the job in 1999 he began siphoning off funds, which he used to purchase luxury goods and cars.
The first return payment to Nigeria comes after the country signed an agreement with the UK in 2016 to manage the return of assets.
Ibori returned to Nigeria in 2017 — a homecoming that was met with celebrations among his supporters in his native south.