A non-resident Indian is fighting multi-million dollar money-laundering charges in Britain’s semi-autonomous island of Jersey in a complex case spanning three continents over the allegedly ill-gotten wealth of a late Nigerian military dictator.
Raj Arjandas Bhojwani, an Indian citizen, could be sent to prison for up to 14 years if found guilty at the end of his trial Monday in Jersey, a tax haven with its own laws and courts off the British mainland.
Bhojwani, who is based in London, Mumbai and Lagos, has been charged by Jersey authorities of laundering around $44 million through the Bank of India branch on the island – an account that has now been frozen.
He is said to have made the money from the sale of Tata trucks to the former Nigerian regime headed by the late military dictator Gen Sani Abacha in 1996-97.
The Jersey court has also heard allegations against Abacha and the current Nigerian high commissioner to South Africa, Colonel Mohammed Buba Marwa, who was military administrator of Lagos state and close to Abacha.
Bhojwani, a 52-year-old businessman, was arrested in February 2007 while trying to catch a flight to the US, reportedly for medical treatment. He is allowed to move about within Jersey after furnishing a record bail of $