Son of Nigerian dictator in Swiss appeal hearing

9th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The son of the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha was to appear in a Geneva court Monday to appeal a sentence he surrender 350 million dollars pillaged from his country, Swiss newspapers reported.

A Geneva magistrate convicted Abba Abacha, 41, in November of participating in a criminal organisation, handed down a suspended prison term and ordered he surrender 350 million dollars (275 million euros) in illegally obtained assets.

Under the Swiss legal system, the appeal brings the case to a court.

"This is the first time this monumental embezzlement case is being heard in court," wrote the Geneva daily Le Temps, noting that Abacha was seeking to be acquitted.

"The hearings promise to be lively," it added.

Nigeria sent Switzerland a request in 1999, the year after Sani Abacha died, to help it recover some 2.2 billion dollars that the dictator is suspected of having siphoned off from the country's central bank during his rule from 1993 to 1998.

Some 700 million dollars which was stashed in Swiss banks has been returned by Switzerland to Nigerian authorities.

© 2010 AFP

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