Former Vice President of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar is not and has not been under any international surveillance, his spokesman, Paul Ibe, said in a statement on Tuesday. “These are recycled false allegations,” Ibe added.
Ibe was reacting to the ‘FINCEN Files‘ that detailed how Atiku allegedly came under the radar of international financial surveillance. FINCEN is the acronym for US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
The files contained thousands of closely held US Treasury documents, including suspicious activity reports.
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The FINCEN Files were investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and more than 100 newsrooms around the world.
Atiku was named as one of the top individuals around the world who have come under intense international surveillance. But his office said the allegations are false.
Spokesman Paul Ibe wrote: “My attention has been drawn to recycled and regurgitated lies about the person of Atiku Abubakar.
“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 state 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.”