Nigeria obtains asset seizure in Canada of fancy US$57 million Bombardier jet said to be owed by PEP and well-known convicted money launderer

By Christine Duhaime | June 9th, 2020

The government of Nigeria obtained an asset seizure order in a Quebec Court to restrain a jet made by Bombardier, a Canadian airplane manufacturer that makes luxury jets for the elite of the world.

The application in furtherance of the asset seizure was for a politically exposed person (“PEP“) from Nigeria, a former government official named Daniel Etete, who allegedly bought a Bombardier jet for US$57 million. The jet showed up in Montreal on May 29, 2020, and on May 30, 2020, the Quebec Superior Court granted a restraint order.

Etete was the Minister of Petroleum in Nigeria. He is a convicted money launderer in France and there is an outstanding arrest warrant for him in connection with a US$1.3 billion oil deal in Nigeria in which it is alleged that bribes were paid, and not only that, it is alleged that a huge portion of the US$1.3 billion from the oil deal went to a company controlled beneficially by Etete. His conviction for money laundering involved his misappropriation of money belonging to the people of Nigeria to buy a chateau in France and other luxuries. At one point, he had five tons in US cash in France.

Despite a quite low salary, Etete was allegedly able to fund the purchase of a jet from Bombardier and to finance its operations and pilots. He is implicated in a corruption trial in Milan, Italy and is facing charges there. He allegedly paid US$57 million towards the jet and at the same time, bought some luxury vehicles.

Nigeria claims that Etete used his position to remove state assets from the country. Etete denies any wrongdoing.

To make things interesting, the jet appears to be registered to a company formed in the AML-lax jurisdiction of BVI, whose nominee is a former Bombardier employee, a Canadian named Giuseppina Russa.

To make things even more interesting, Etete appears to own a mansion in the same complex in Dubai, Emirates Hills, where another PEP from South Africa lives who also bought a luxury jet from Bombardier without impediment and with financing from an agency called the Export Development Canada.

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