Nigerian Billionaire Named In FBI Probe On U.S. Election Donors

Gilbert Chagoury, a Nigerian billionaire of Lebanese descent, has been named in the criminal case of a U.S. congressman Jeff Fortenberry who prosecutors say lied to FBI investigators about illegal contributions to his 2016 re-election campaign from foreign nationals.

The authorities say that Chagoury arranged for U.S.$30,000 to be contributed through other individuals to Fortenberry's campaign during a Los Angeles fundraiser. In the U.S., it is illegal for foreign nationals to contribute to U.S. election campaigns, for donors to obscure the foreign source of political contributions, and for recipients to willingly accept such money.

Chagoury was a close associate of Nigerian dictator, General Sani Abacha, who helped his business interests in the country. Abacha diverted millions of dollars from Nigeria's central bank to overseas bank accounts of his family and associates. After Abacha died in 1998, Chagoury returned an estimated U.S.$300 million to the Nigerian government to secure his indemnity from possible criminal charges.


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