DfID investments in alleged money-laundering fronts
BBC Newsnight reports

by Peter Marshall, Newsnight

first published 7 July 2014

BBC’s flagship news programme, Newsnight, ran a 10-minute segment on allegations that Britain’s Department of International Development (DfID), through its wholly-owned private equity fund of funds CDC Group, invested in money-laundering fronts for James Ibori, the ex-governor of Nigeria’ oil-rich Delta State, who has been serving a prison sentence in the UK since 2012.

The CDC Group had invested in a US private equity firm, Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), which in turn invested in companies connected to Ibori.

When DfID and ECP were given detailed information about the alleged wrong-doing in 2009, they failed to investigate adequately.

The Newsnight report covered a February 2014 UK Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report on the case, (Handling allegations of corruption: A report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman on an investigation into a complaint about the Department for International Development), which revealed that DfID had been informed by the UK police of the connections between these Nigerian companies and Ibori – but continued to deny that there was any such connection.

Earlier this year (2014), more than two years after being given the information, DfID finally passed the case to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) – but the SFO has decided not to pursue the matter in the UK; instead it will pass on the allegations to the US authorities where ECP is based.

The SFO acknowledges that there was malpractice, but claims it cannot prosecute because DfID/CDC did not lose any money.

Read more information and background on the case.