Former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has dismissed reports that he and his family are on a watch list of the United States of America.
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 surveillance has been in circulation since Monday, September 21.
Reacting to this in a statement on Tuesday, Atiku’s Special Adviser on Media, Paul Ibe, said: “These are recycled false allegations”.
Ibe 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.
The spokesman insisted that former Vice President has never been charged to court by the US Justice Department.
He expressed the report which resurfaced barely 24 hours after the just concluded governorship election in Edo State was a cause for concern, adding that himself and his family keep a clean business portfolio.
Ibe also recalled how the former presidential candidate had travelled to the US, prior to the last presidential election in Nigeria.
According to him, the former presidential candidate steers clear of government resources in the course of his businesses.
The statement partly reads;
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 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.
THESE ‘NEW’ REPORTS ARE A DESPERATE GAMBIT TO RECAST THESE DISCREDITED ACCUSATIONS. THEY ARE 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.
MOREOVER, THE TIMING OF THIS REPORT, LESS THAN 24 HOURS AFTER THE EDO STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS, SHOULD GIVE SOME THOUGHT TO THINKING PEOPLE.
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.
According to the report by 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, the report stated, 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 the media outlet, 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 the publication, in 88 countries.