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James Ibori: Ex-Wickes Worker Became A High-Ranking Nigerian Politician And Embezzled £160m

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Ibori will be sentenced later today at Southwark Crown Court
Ibori will be sentenced later today at Southwark Crown Court

James Ibori, who once worked as a cashier in a Middlesex branch of the hardware chain Wickes, is due to be sentenced on Tuesday for his role in a fraud and embezzlement scheme that saw him take nearly £160m.

Ibori, who pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court in February, worked at the Ruislip branch of the company, before he left the country to return to his native Nigeria, where he chased a lucrative, powerful career in politics.

He became a state governor in 1999, and, Sky News reports, spent up to £126,000 a month on "a luxury lifestyle, including running a fleet of armoured Range Rovers."

Ibori plead guilty to a number of charges, one of conspiracy to launder money, five of money laundering, one of obtaining property through deception totalling £25m worth of fraud while he was governor of Nigeria's Delta state.

He also admitted to another charge of money laundering linked to a larger case involving a £23.3m share fraud scheme, as well as two further charges.

His wife, sister, mistress and solicitor have all already been sent to prison for their role in his schemes.

It is believed that he also used a fake passport to stand to stand as governor for the People's Democratic Party in 1999, in order to hide a criminal record that would've prevented him from being elected.

Ibori was only arrested when he was caught trying to buy a £12m airplane. He as then extradited to the UK in 2011, when it was estimated that he was responsible for up to £157m worth of fraud in the country.

Prosecutor Sasha Wass said of Ibori: "From the moment he was elected he set out enriching himself at the expense of some of the poorest people in the world. His greed increased exponentially during the course of his governorship as did his arrogance.""

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