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Former OPEC president charged with bribery offences in the UK

A former head of the group that enables the top oil-producing countries to cooperate and influence the global oil market has been charged with bribery offences. 

Diezani Alison-Madueke, the ex-president of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a key figure in the Nigerian government between 2010 and 2015, was charged after a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation.

The NCA suspects she accepted bribes during her time as Minister for Petroleum Resources in Nigeria in exchange for awarding multi-million pound oil and gas contracts.

Alison-Madueke, 63, is alleged to have benefited from at least £100,000 in cash, chauffeur-driven cars, flights on private jets, luxury holidays for her family, and the use of multiple London properties.


The charges also detail other financial rewards including furniture, renovation work and staff for the properties, payment of private school fees, and gifts from high-end designer shops such as Cartier and Louis Vuitton.

Assets worth millions of pounds relating to the alleged offences have already been frozen as part of the investigation.

Alison-Madueke, who lives in St John’s Wood, London, will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on 2 October.

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She was elected as the first female president of OPEC in 2014, after a career at Shell and ministerial posts in Nigeria.

Andy Kelly, head of the NCA’s International Corruption Unit (ICU), said: “These charges are a milestone in what has been a thorough and complex international investigation.

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“Bribery is a pervasive form of corruption, which enables serious criminality and can have devastating consequences for developing countries. We will continue to work with partners here and overseas to tackle the threat.”

Andrew Penhale, chief crown prosecutor from the CPS, added: “The CPS made the decision to authorise the charge after reviewing a file of evidence from the NCA relating to allegations of bribery in Nigeria.

“Criminal proceedings against Ms Alison-Madueke are active and she has the right to a fair trial.

“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.

“The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for a criminal court to consider.”


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