Abubakar Atiku Bagudu began the proceedings against his extradition on Wednesday, naming UK Home Secretary David Blunkett MP as defendant and the Attorney General, William Bailhache, QC, and the federal government of Nigeria as interested parties.
He is seeking to set aside the application that could see him brought to Jersey to face charges of laundering millions of dollars.The extradition hearing was due to be held this month in Houston, Texas, where Mr Bagudu is currently under arrest.
It has been postponed at his request and rescheduled for 17 September, although it may be put off again.Extradition applications are made through the UK Home Secretary because they fall under the US/UK extradition treaty.
The Home Office have acted on the request made by Mr Bailhache, who said yesterday that he was considering his position in relation to the judicial review proceedings.Should the extradition hearing go ahead, US State prosecutor Noelle di Marco will try to prove that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed by Mr Bagudu.
She will be acting on Jersey’s behalf, although the application has been made through the Home Secretary.The Attorney General’s office have conducted an investigation into funds held in Jersey banks by, and on behalf of, the late General Sani Abacha of Nigeria.
The military dictator, who died in 1998, is believed to have amassed a US $32 billion fortune by plundering Nigeria’s central bank.The investigation was sparked by allegations of fraud and obtaining services by false pretences from a bank in Jersey and receiving property obtained illegally abroad.
The investigation has involved the Attorney General’s office, the Joint Financial Crimes Unit of the States police and the Jersey Financial Services Commission, but they have not named the Jersey bank or banks involved.Funds from the Abacha regime were first found in Jersey in 2000, and at least US $200 million was still being held here last year in frozen accounts.Mr Bagudu – a businessman formerly based in London – escaped charges of embezzlement, fraud and money laundering in Nigeria by signing an out-of-court settlement returning more than US $1 billion to the Nigerian government.