Nigerian billionaires and politicians hide their money to evade taxes, avoid scrutiny, or engage in illicit activities.
This has over the years made the issue of hidden wealth and undisclosed assets a topic of intrigue and concern.
While it is true that not all billionaires and politicians engage in unethical or illegal practices, we must examine the various means and locations billionaires and politicians hide money. Let’s get started.
Tax haven countries
Tax haven countries like Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands, Mauritius and Luxembourg are where politicians and billionaires hide their money.
For example, the Pandora papers released by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealed that the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi founded offshore companies in some of these countries.
According to the report, Peter Obi established Gabriella Investments Limited in the British Virgin Islands. He established the company in partnership with a local registered agent – Aleman Cordero Galindo & Lee Trust (BVI) Limited (Alcogal).
Also, the report revealed that the Former Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu founded Ridley Trust and Ridley Group in Guernsey and the British Virgin Islands.
Buy Properties Overseas
Nigerian billionaires like Femi Otedola and Abdul Samad Rabiu own properties overseas. Otedola has a Monaco and Dubai home in his name. Also, Abdul Samad Rabiu has a property in Gloucester Square in London worth nearly $16 million.
These billionaires whose companies are operational in Nigeria, hide their money overseas by purchasing luxury properties.
Also, Former minister and Nigerian senator, Stella Oduah bought four properties under the International Trading and Logistics Company Limited (ITCL) in Seychelles. The properties are worth £6.7 million.
Invest in offshore companies
Another place Nigerian billionaires and politicians hide their money is in offshore companies. Investing in offshore companies can help politicians and billionaires reduce their tax liability, protect their assets from creditors and give them a high degree of privacy.
For example, Former President of the Senate, David Mark was linked to eight offshore companies on the British Virgin Islands. The companies include Sikera Overseas S.A., Colsan Enterprises Limited, Goldwin Transworld Limited, Hartland Estates Limited, Marlin Holdings Limited, Medley Holdings Limited, Quetta Properties Limited, and Centenary Holdings Limited.
Some Nigerian politicians and billionaires also hide their money in upscale apartments within the country. This has been confirmed by the operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
During one of their raids, officials found over $43 million inside a flat in Lagos. The sum of money was found wrapped in “neatly” sealed bundles inside filing cabinets said to be hidden behind wooden panels of a wardrobe. They also found some £27,800 and N23.2m on the US notes.
Also, some politicians hide looted funds underground and in cemeteries. Former Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi said, “We have so much of the looted funds trapped in foreign banks, some buried at the cemetery while many were buried underground where they were destroyed by termites.”
Moreso, EFCC revealed that it discovered billions of Naira in cash stashed in various houses of some serving governors.
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