News Business Crime & Financial Services 17th Oct 2018

Jonathan Kinnear QC Leads for the Crown in Important Court of Appeal Decision

The Court of Appeal today dismissed the applications for leave to appeal made by James Ibori and others, following grave allegations of police corruption and deliberate non-disclosure.  This was the culmination of a two and a half year review of the safety of the convictions in which Jonathan Kinnear QC led for the Crown in respect of events going back almost 15 years.  Earlier in the year the Court refused an application by Mr Ibori’s former solicitor Bhadresh Gohil to re-open the Court’s previous determination of his application for leave to appeal, see  R v Gohil [2018] EWCA Crim 140; [2018] 1 WLR 3697.  

Mr Ibori was the the Governor of the Delta State, Nigeria between 1999-2007, during which time he abused his position, stripping state owned assets and keeping them for himself.  He used some of the proceeds of his criminal activity to purchase, amongst other things, a number of expensive properties around the world and a private jet.  The full value of his criminal activity has not yet been quantified.  Mr Ibori ultimately pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and money laundering offences and was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.  Mr Ibori was assisted in the laundering of his criminal proceeds by a network of solicitors, financial advisers and family members both in England and Nigeria, setting up a complex web of financial transactions using jurisdictions all round the world.

The prosecution of Mr Ibori, Mr Gohil and a number of other co-defendants was one of the CPS’s flagship corruption prosecutions.  A number of the confiscation proceedings remain outstanding.

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