Nigeria's graft-facing ex-governor arrested in Dubai

13th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A fugitive Nigerian former governor facing charges of siphoning off millions of dollars of state assets and money laundering has been arrested in Dubai, the anti-graft police said Thursday.

James Ibori, governor of the southern oil rich Delta between 1999 to 2007, was arrested by Interpol on Wednesday.

"It has been confirmed that he was arrested by the Interpol," Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chief Farida Waziri told reporters.

However, Interpol's office in Abu Dhabi declined to confirm or deny reports of Ibori's arrest. Officials with Dubai and Abu Dhabi police departments said they had no information on Ibori having been arrested.

Ibori is charged with embezzling 290 million dollars (230 million euros) of public funds and money laundering while he was in office.

After he was declared wanted last month, armed militants kept a vigil around his home and blocked security agents from arresting him. He later fled the country.

A federal high court in the state capital Asaba last December acquitted him of a 170-count corruption charge in a ruling critics say was influenced by his closeness to the late president Umaru Yar'Adua.

The affluent Ibori is widely believed to have bankrolled Yar'Adua's election campaign in 2007.

The ex-governor also faces corruption charges in Britain after the discovery of assets suspected to have been bought with stolen money.

He is undergoing interrogation by Interpol and Britain's Metropolitan police, Waziri said.

© 2010 AFP

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