Fresh Leaks Expose Secret Posh Properties Owned By Atiku, Ekweremadu, Orji Kalu, Other Nigerians In Dubai

Some prominent Nigerians including former Vice President and 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former House of Representatives member who represented Musawa/Matazu district in Katsina State, Abubakar Garba Shehu have appeared in a fresh report leaking property records previously kept secret in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

 

The investigative report published on Tuesday by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), is titled “Dubai Unlocked”.

 

Other Nigerian names in the report are former Abia State Governor, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu; former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Sabitun Ikuforiji; former owner of DAMAC Maison Dubai Mall Street, Cromwell Osamwonyi Idahosa and Lawal Hassan Gummi.

 

The report also listed many names from other countries around the globe, including some who had been sanctioned by the United States of America.

 

This report provides a database of alleged money launderers, drug lords, political figures accused of corruption, businessmen sanctioned for financing terrorism and other criminals who own expensive and erstwhile secret assets in the middle-eastern country.

 

The leaked records, which date largely from 2022 and 2020, were initially obtained by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that researches international crime and conflict. The data was then shared with the Norwegian financial outlet E24 and OCCRP, who coordinated an investigative project with more than 70 media outlets around the globe, the report indicated.

 

Only those individuals whose identities could be verified and who are considered in the public interest — either because of their alleged criminal pasts or political prominence — were included in the project.

 

The new data builds on earlier leaks of Dubai property records from 2016 and 2020, providing a more up-to-date look at who owns what across the city’s skyscrapers and opulent villa communities. From alleged Australian cocaine traffickers to the relatives of African dictators and a coterie of sanctioned Hezbollah financiers, the findings reveal how the city has opened its arms to disreputable characters from around the globe.

 

According to the report, Dubai’s high-rises and villas have served as a safe haven for some of the world’s most wanted criminals, due in part to the secrecy its real estate sector affords.

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The city’s property records are difficult to obtain and cannot be easily searched. In some cases, even international law enforcement officials have been unaware that people in their sights owned property in Dubai, one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. But thanks to the fresh data leak, reporters were able to identify scores of alleged criminals, individuals facing sanctions, and political figures accused of corruption who have owned property there.

 

Take, for example, Atiku Abubakar and Family are the current owner of Rawda Apartments 1- $453,800; current owner of Rawda Apartments 1 – $432,500; current owner of Jumeirah Living World Trade Centre Residence – $518,800; current owner of Jumeirah Living World Trade Centre Residence -$518,800; current owner of Park Ridge Tower C – $570,100; current owner of The One at Jumeirah Village Circle – $372,000; current owner of Grand Heights Hotel Apartments – $322,300; and the current owner of Jumeirah Living World Trade Centre Residence – $1,291,500

According to a 2010 U.S. Senate report, while in office he allegedly used offshore companies to send millions of dollars of suspect funds to his fourth wife in the United States between 2000 and 2008. His daughter Hadiza Abubakar Atiku and current wife, Rukaiyatu Abubakar Atiuku, also own properties in Dubai.

Abubakar Garba Shehu is the current owner of Arezzo 2, valued at $153,500 and the current owner of Arezzo 2, valued at $160,600.

 

Adeyemi Sabitun Ikuforiji is the former owner of DAMAC Maison Dubai Mall Street valued at $574,500 and the former owner of Ocean Heights valued at $387,600.

Ikuforiji was the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly from 2005 to 2015. He was charged with alleged conspiracy and money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a case that began in 2011 but, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, had not reached trial as of November last year.

Cromwell Osamwonyi Idahosa is the current owner of The Matrix valued at $280,800.

 

Ike Ekweremadu is the current owner of The Meadows 9 Villa valued at $1,573,800 and the current owner of Maeen 1 Villa valued at $2,810,500.

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Lawal Hassan Gummi is the former owner of Jenna Main Square 2 valued at $256,000.

 

Orji Uzor Kalu is the current owner of Marina Heights Tower valued at $730,700.

 

The properties Atiku and his family currently own in Dubai amount to roughly $4 million. This would be around N5.6 billion.

 

Ike Ekweremadu was categorised as a criminal because of his organ harvesting plot conviction in the United Kingdom. He was, however, once a political heavyweight in Nigeria who served as Deputy Senate President.

 

 

Hassan Gummi was the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Chief Judge who served between 2002 and 2013.

 

Osamwonyi Idahosa served in the Edo State judiciary.

 

Kalu, the senator representing Abia North Senatorial District and former Governor of Abia State, was once convicted of defrauding his own state. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison for a N7.65 billion fraud in December 2019. A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court later declared Kalu’s conviction null and void in 2020.

 

Kalu remains under scrutiny for alleged corruption during his tenure as Abia’s governor.

 

 

 

The investigation also found that a Pakistani national, Obaid Khamani has an apartment in the iconic palm-shaped artificial archipelago known as Palm Jumeirah. He along with his father, was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2016 for allegedly running a money laundering organization that has moved billions of dollars across the globe on behalf of drug traffickers and organized crime groups. He did not respond to requests to comment.

Then over in the nearby Palm Tower Dubai is an apartment owned by Danilo Vunjao Santana Gouveia, a Brazilian businessman better known as “Dubaiano,” who was indicted in 2018 on charges including money laundering and fraud for allegedly running a massive Bitcoin pyramid scheme.

Since moving to Dubai, he has taken up a new career in the city as a musician, which he details on an Instagram account alongside photographs of him posing in front of various locations in the city, including the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab Jumeirah skyscraper. His case in Brazil is ongoing. He did not respond to requests to comment.

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And in the Grandeur Residences is Joseph Johannes Leijdekkers, a.k.a. Bolle Jos (“Chubby Jos”), alleged by Dutch authorities to be a major player in the global cocaine trade. He did not respond to requests to comment.

 

According to the report, after a short trip over to the Jumeirah Bay Tower-X3 is an apartment belonging to Daniel Kinahan, an alleged leader of the Kinahan Organized Crime Group, a major Irish drug trafficking cartel that also has a presence in Spain, the U.K., and the UAE, according to U.S. authorities. The U.S. has offered up to $5 million for information that could lead to his arrest. He did not respond to requests to comment.

 

Heading across town to the Avanti Tower, the investigation found Salam Shebani. Formerly one of Europe’s Most Wanted, currently serving a life sentence in Sweden for money laundering and inciting two murders. He was initially under investigation for receiving fraudulent money into a Dubai account. While Swedish authorities were investigating, Shebani ordered two murders in Sweden, and a 16-year-old was accidentally killed in the crossfire. He still owns his Dubai apartment and records show he rents it out. He did not respond to requests to comment.

 

At Ridge Towers (Near the Burj Khalifa), the journalists found Vinod Adani, an Indian billionaire facing allegations of stock market manipulation and money laundering across India as a senior member of the Adani Group conglomerate. The allegations, which the Adani Group has denied, and which law enforcement has not pursued, were leveled in January 2023 by a New York-based short seller. Vinod Adani did not respond to a request for comment.

 

And Othman El Ballouti, wanted in Belgium for allegedly running one of Europe’s top cocaine trafficking networks. He was sanctioned in 2023 by the U.S., where authorities allege his money laundering and narcotics supply chain networks are linked to businesses based in China, as well as South American cocaine suppliers. He did not respond to requests to comment.

 

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