By Saawua Terzungwe
A former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has said he and his family have not breached any law and, therefore, not under surveillance by the United States (US).
There are reports that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency of the US Department of Treasury, has placed Atiku and his family members under close watch.
But reacting in a statement on Tuesday, Atiku’s Special Adviser on Media, Paul Ibe, said: “These are recycled false allegations.”
He argued that the report was 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.
“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.
“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,” he said.
According to a report by online medium, PREMIUM TIMES, new findings showed that FinCEN flagged some transactions linked to the senior politician as suspicious as it surveilled money movements within the international financial system.
These findings, according to the report, also offer fresh insight into how huge funds linked to Atiku may have been moved across international jurisdictions using shell companies.
FinCEN files, a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, BuzzFeed and 108 media partners across the world, including PREMIUM TIMES, are a large volume of confidential financial reports relating to the transaction activities of world leaders, terrorists, drug dealers and money launderers.
The investigation is said to have involved 16-month collaborative work involving more than 400 journalists, including those from PREMIUM TIMES, in 88 countries.