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Friday, 21 July, 2000, 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK
Swiss banks to return Abacha loot
Late President Sani Abacha
Nigeria wins back part of late Abacha's loot
Switzerland has agreed to hand over to Nigeria some of the money held in bank accounts linked to the late military ruler, General Sani Abacha.

A judicial official in Geneva said $66m was being returned to the Nigerian authorities.

More than $600m is still frozen in Swiss accounts said to belong to the general, his family and associates.

Nigeria's yera-old democratic government is keen to retrieve the millions that were embezzled by the general, who died in 1998.

In May, Luxembourg announced it had frozen bank accounts associated with the late Nigerian ruler containing a total of $600m.

'Stacks of banknotes'

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo believes General Abacha siphoned off a total of $3bn, of which about two thirds has been traced to bank accounts in various European countries.

Nigeria's administration says General Abacha used a circle of family members, close aides and business associates to dispose of the cash which he plundered from the state.

It was amassed by awarding contracts to front companies, accepting massive bribes, and by siphoning money directly from the Nigerian treasury.

There are stories of vans delivering stacks of banknotes from the Central Bank to the homes of Abacha's family and friends.

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14 Dec 99 | Africa
Abacha's $550m fortune
21 Jan 00 | Africa
Banks freeze more Abacha millions
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