Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu, who is challenging his February victory in court, has kept some of his wealth in the UK, where he and his close associates own at least 20 properties acquired when Tinubu was governor. of Lagos State.
After the 2023 presidential election, Tinubu will succeed Muhammadu Buhari as president on May 29, 2023. His opponents say the election is fixed.
The 71-year-old is seen as Nigeria’s political kingmaker for his role in the election of several governors in the country’s southwest region, as well as the election of Buhari, who defeated the incumbent in 2015.
The governors he chose were former directors of Tinubu’s or his son’s companies.
Bloomberg first reported on Tuesday that Tinubu’s son, Oluwaseyi, is the majority shareholder of Aranda Overseas Corporation, an offshore company that bought the controversial UK property for $10.8 million in 2017.
At the time of the purchase, Nigeria was trying to confiscate a London home belonging to a Nigerian oil dealer who was facing corruption charges at home and in the United States, according to Nigerian partner OCCRP. Premium Times.
However, OCCRP has discovered over a dozen other properties linked to Tinubu, mostly acquired during his tenure as governor of Lagos State from May 1999 to May 2007.
“If there are reasonable grounds to suspect that these assets were bought with the funds, then they should be investigated,” said Steve Goodrich, head of research and investigations at Transparency International UK. guaranteeing secrecy”, he added.
Tinubu’s history is not entirely clean. In 1993 he was forced to forfeit $460,000 in narcotics trafficking proceeds to the US government, according to a US District Court ruling in Illinois.
However, about a year later, Abeeb Holdings Limited, an offshore company registered in Gibraltar with Tinubu as the beneficial owner, bought Flat 9 at 96-100 New Cavendish Street, London.
His connection to Abeeb Holdings Limited has been revealed, thanks Register of Foreign OrganizationsA new measure designed to reveal the true owners of UK offshore companies with property in the country.
In 2011, his son’s Aranda Overseas Corporation bought flat 10A in the same building. The lease agreement was signed by Tinubu’s partner Oladipo Eludoyin, director of Aranda Overseas Corporation.
Eludoyin is also the founding director of Aranda Resources Limited, a company registered in Nigeria whose shares are owned by Aranda Overseas Corporation.
The OCCRP also found that Eludoyin is the beneficial owner of 17 properties in the UK through three offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.
The Eludoyin properties were bought between 2004 and 2007 when Tinubu was the governor of Lagos State. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Tinubu was replaced by Babatunde Fashola, who previously served as his chief of staff. Fashola also had a hand in Aranda Resources Limited. He signed and filed the allotment of shares in Aranda Resources Limited with the Nigerian Companies Registry in December 2001. Fashola’s spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
After his term as governor, Tinubu became an influential politician. Local media reported that Babajide Sanwo-Olu was chosen and appointed Lagos State governor in 2019, despite his party’s call for Sanwo-Olu’s predecessor to continue for a second term.
Sanwo-Olu was the director of Aranda Resources Limited until 26 days before his first day as governor in May 2019. His spokesman also did not respond to requests for comment.
Another director of Aranda Resources Limited and Aranda Overseas Corporation, Adegboyega Oyetola, was elected governor of Osun South West Nigeria in 2018, and Tinubu was highly credited for his electoral success.
It is not clear when he became the beneficial owner, but when Aranda Overseas Corporation entered the British Virgin Islands tax haven in November 1999, young Tinubu was 14 years old and had just entered Milton Abbey School in England for his secondary education. while his father had just spent almost six months as governor of Lagos State.
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