London houses linked with Senator Saraki listed for probe

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Transparency International UK has listed two London houses suspected
to be owned by Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki for
investigation under Britain’s new law, Unexplained Wealth Orders, which
became effective from 31 January.

According to TI, Land Registry documents show that the houses at 7
and 8 Whittaker Street, Belgravia, London are owned by Landfield
International Developments Limited and Renocon Property Development
Limited.

Based on current market estimates by Zoopla, the properties are worth a combined total of around £15 million.

According to data released as part of the Panama Papers, these
companies were controlled by Toyin Saraki, the wife of the President of
the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki, as well as one of his personal
aides. At the time of these revelations, none of these offshore holdings
were reported in Saraki’s official asset declarations.

Previous public disclosures by Saraki have indicated he has high levels of unexplained wealth, Transparency International said.

In 2003, his asset declaration showed he had amassed tens of millions
of pounds worth of assets during his time as director of Société
Générale Bank and Special Assistant to the President on Budget.

The explanation he provided for these acquisitions was stated simply
as “business”. Saraki is involved in an ongoing court case around
allegations of false asset declarations from his tenure as Governor of
Kwara state.

In a previous interview with The Guardian, Saraki said he had
declared all his assets correctly and in accordance with Nigerian
legislation.

Other assets listed for probe by Transparency International include a
£18m property at Kenwood Gate, Hampstead, owned by the First Family of
Azerbaijan, Flats 138A and 138B at 4 Whitehall Court, London, linked
with Igor Shuvalov, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister. The flats are
valued at £11.4million.