The jailed former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, lost a legal appeal on Thursday against a 13-year prison sentence forembezzling £50m in one of Britain’s biggest money-laundering cases.
Ibori, a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party and a behind-the-scenes kingmaker, who ran Delta State for eight years, was trying to get his sentence reduced.
His lawyers argued that the original judge had indicated the term would be shorter.
Judge Antony Edwards-Stuart rejected the argument at the appeal hearing and said money laundering should attract close to the maximum 14-year sentence.
Ibori pleaded guilty to 10 charges of fraud and money-laundering in February 2012. He is the most prominent Nigerian politician to be successfully prosecuted for corruption, in one of the most graft-ridden countries in the world, according to monitoring group Transparency International.
The Ibori case was heard in London after prosecutors argued that, although much of the activity in question took place in Nigeria, some money did pass through Britain and British banks.
During his trial last year, a London court heard the stolen fortune was used to buy six foreign properties and a fleet of cars, although the judge said the total amount stolen may in fact be “in excess of £200m”.