Nigerian oil being “laundered” in world financial centres

A new report has claimed that money made from stolen Nigerian crude oil sold each year on international markets is being laundered in the world’s financial centres. Chatham House, a London think-tank, reported that Nigeria‘s oil was being looted on an “industrial scale”, according to BBC News.

The report controversially argues that Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, should be more proactive in sharing intelligence so foreign governments can help “crack down” on the organised crime. Stolen oil accounts for 5 percent of Nigeria’s total oil output, the report also stated. With an estimated 100,000 barrels a day believed to be the minimum amount stolen, the Nigerian government will lose revenues of up to $3.6 billion, Christina Katsouris, co-author of the report Nigeria’s Criminal Crude: International Options to Combat the Export of Stolen Oil, said.

“Proceeds are laundered through world financial centres and used to buy assets in and outside Nigeria. In Nigeria, politicians, military officers, militants, oil industry personnel, oil traders and communities profit, as do organised criminal groups,” the report says.

It said that oil theft networks used foreign banks among other channels to launder or store their illicit earnings: “Thieves have many ways to disguise the funds they move around the world. These include bulk cash smuggling, delayed deposits, heavy use of middlemen, shell companies and tax havens, bribery of bank officials, cycling cash through legitimate businesses and cash purchases of luxury goods,” according to the report.

It is thought other African countries, Dubai, Indonesia, India, Singapore, the US, the UK and Switzerland were possible “money-laundering hotspots”. According to the report, interviewees said that the US, several West African countries, Brazil, China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Balkans were possible destinations for the illicit oil.


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