former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has denied reports that he and his family have been placed under international surveillance by the United States Justice Department.
In a statement signed on his behalf by his spokesperson, Paul Ibe, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, described the reports as recycled and regurgitated.
A recent report stated that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency of the US Department of Treasury had placed Atiku and his family members under close watch and that new findings have now shown that FinCEN flagged some transactions linked to him as suspicious as it surveilled money movements within the international financial system.
In one of the reports, a $1,018,500 wire transfer on March 5, 2012, was flagged in daily monitoring by Habib Bank Limited New York with transfer originating from Guernesy Trust Company Nigeria Limited, a trust corporation incorporated in Nigeria in 2003, to hold his 16 percent stake in Intels Nigeria Limited.
But Atiku’s office has denied the reports, saying that he is not any under watch list, has he been charged or will ever be charged by the United States or any other in a foreign jurisdiction.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Atiku Abubakar is not under any US watch list, neither has he been charged, or will ever be charged by the United States Justice Department or any other in a foreign jurisdiction. It will be recalled that these recycled lies were re-unearthed just before the February 23, 2019 Presidential election, and to put paid to them, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, applied for and received a US visa, whereupon he embarked on a visit to the United States on January 17, 2019. He stayed at a hotel just miles to the United States Department of Justice.
“Atiku Abubakar in the course of that trip was also received in audience by officials of the United States Government. These ‘new’ reports are a desperate gambit to recast these discredited accusations. They are meant to divert the attention of Nigerians from the recent statement by the Secretary of State of the United States, Mr. Mike Pompeo, announcing visa and travel bans for certain unnamed but notorious individuals.
“Moreover, the timing of this report, less than 24 hours after the Edo gubernatorial elections, should give some thought to thinking people. And considering the season that we are in, more of such jaundiced stories seeking to discredit Atiku Abubakar would come. However, it needs to be reiterated that the former Vice President and every member of his family keeps a clean business portfolio that has nothing to do with government resources and in conformity with local and foreign laws of respective countries,” the statement read.