These are not definitely the best of times for billionaire businessman,Kola Aluko. After seizing his prized Yacht worth billions dollars,the US has moved to seize his $25m Los Angeles mansion.
The money laundering and asset recovery section of the United States department of justice initiated the proceedings at the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas to seize the mansion which is valued at $25 million.
According to Africa Intelligence, the US government told the court that the mansion was bought to “launder ill-gotten gains” from Nigeria.
Aluko, an ally of Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former minister of petroleum resources, has been the subject of various investigations in Nigeria and abroad for allegedly taking part in shady oil contracts.
Already properties, including a yacht used by Beyonce and Jay Z for vacation, and a New York penthouse, have been seized from him.
The US government, represented by Joshua Lee Sohn, said the Los Angeles mansion was acquired through “specified illegal activity” that justifies its confiscation.
The property, which was acquired in 2012, is a luxurious mansion of 1,400 square metres of land and comes with an infinity pool.
Apart from the application to seize the mansion, the DoJ is also on a hunt for assets acquired on American soil by Aluko and Jide Omokore, another Diezani ally.
The duo, Aluko and Omokore, reportedly won major service contracts with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through their company, Atlantic Energy Oil.
The DoJ said the duo received multiple shipments of crude at knock-down prices, resold to trading giants at comfortable profits and invested the proceeds in high-end real estate.
The department said Aluko also bought three other mansions in the US through shell companies, one in Beverly Hills worth $15 million and two in Santa Barbara valued at $33 million.
However, these properties have not yet been involved in seizure proceedings.
In Nigeria,the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is pushing for the forfeiture of the properties identified as Plot 3389 and Plot 3390, House 2, Margaret Thatcher Close, Asokoro Cadastral Zone, Abuja; as well as Avenue Towers, Plot 1391 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The anti-graft agency said the Plot 3389 and Plot 3390 in Abuja were purchased for N350m and $18m, respectively. It said the Lagos property was bought for $55m.The EFCC said the funds used to procure the properties were reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
When the going was good, Kola lived like a superstar, mostly because he was one. He was loved, feted and envied in equal measures. As his company Atlantic Energy raked in billions from oil contracts, he seemed set to soar to the stratosphere. He partied like there was no tomorrow, toured the skies and cruised the seas in the formidable Galactica Star superyacht. His fame burst beyond the borders and attracted the attention of world celebrities and leaders of thought. He was invited to global events and strutted his stuff with an endless stream of hangers-on in tow.
With the fall of the former Minister of Petroleum ,Diezani Allison- Madueke,the billionaire businessman became the whipping boy of the anti-corruption agencies at home and abroad.