UK Court Fines Indian Lawyer £28M In Ibori’s Corruption Case

Bhadresh Gohil, a 58-year-old Indian-origin lawyer, was ordered by a UK court to pay more than £28 million in costs related to criminal activity. Gohil had previously been found guilty of fraud and money laundering in a case involving corruption allegations against James Ibori, a former governor of Delta State.

According to the Press Trust of India, Gohil was implicated in a corruption case involving his client, James Ibori, and was found guilty of money laundering, obstructing a money laundering investigation, and conspiring to defraud.

Back in 2010, he was convicted of these crimes and sentenced to a 10-year prison term.

During the prolonged confiscation proceedings at Southwark Crown Court in London, the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service revealed that Gohil had benefited to the sum of £42.4 million from his illicit activities. As a result, the judge ordered that he must either pay £28.2 million as part of a Confiscation Order or face an additional six years in prison.

“This was one of our largest international cases and illustrates how robustly the CPS tackles international illicit finance and corruption,” The PTI quoted Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor in the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division as saying.

“The amount that both defendants have benefited from their criminality has been highly contested, but thanks to the hard work of our dedicated team and that of the National Crime Agency, we have been able to uncover the full extent of their corruption.”

“This has led to the making of Confiscation Orders of over 128 million pounds, which will ultimately result in the return of funds back to the people of Nigeria.”

James Ibori, aged 61, has been found guilty of stealing money while serving as the governor of Delta State, using the funds to sustain a lavish lifestyle that included purchasing properties in Texas, London, and Washington, DC, along with luxury cars like Mercedes and Bentleys.

After a lengthy legal process, last Friday, the judge finally reached a decision in the case, concluding that Ibori had systematically embezzled millions of pounds from the state and its citizens. Consequently, the judge issued an order requiring Ibori to pay over £101 million or face an additional eight years in prison.

Testimonies in court revealed that Ibori used an elaborate scheme to launder the proceeds of his crimes, involving his wife, sister, and lover.

In February 2012, Ibori pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to launder money, money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy to make false instruments. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison. After serving his sentence, he returned to Nigeria.

During his tenure as Delta State’s governor, the Metropolitan Police investigated allegations of corruption and money laundering. One aspect that received particular attention was the fraudulent sale and purchase of shares in Ibori’s mobile phone company, “V Mobile,” by Delta and Akwa Ibom states.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed that money was also laundered by Bhadresh Gohil through a complex network of offshore companies, bank accounts, and UK-based entities. Gohil was found to have aided Ibori in concealing his criminal proceeds and defrauding the people of Delta State.