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Sun 17 Apr 2011 09:24 AM

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Nigerian ex-governor in UK court after Dubai extradition

Former politician James Ibori faces 25 offences relating to money laundering and fraud

Nigerian ex-governor in UK court after Dubai extradition
James Ibori, former governor of Delta state in southern Nigeria

A senior politician in Nigeria's ruling party appeared in a
British court on Saturday accused of corruption charges after being extradited
from the United Arab Emirates, police said.

James Ibori, one of Nigeria's
richest politicians and the former governor of the oil-producing state of
Delta, was arrested almost a year ago in Dubai at the request of Britain's
Metropolitan Police.

"James Ibori appeared at City of Westminster
Magistrates' Court today charged with 25 offences relating to money laundering
and fraud," a Metropolitan police spokesman said, adding he was remanded
in custody to appear again on April 28.

He said Ibori, from Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic
Party, arrived at London's Heathrow International airport escorted by British
extradition warrant officers.

Ibori, who recently lost an appeal against his extradition
from the UAE, denies all allegations of corruption and says the accusations
against him are political.

He was governor of Delta, one of three major oil-producing
states in the impoverished Niger Delta, from 1999 to 2007 and continued to act
as a powerbroker in the PDP thereafter.

A British court froze $35m of his assets in 2007 on
suspicion they were the proceeds of corruption and he is also wanted for
questioning by Nigeria's anti-corruption police, the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Ibori is one of many former Nigerian state governors to have
been charged by the EFCC in cases seen as a test of the Nigerian government's
commitment to tackling corruption.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the front-runner in
presidential elections on Saturday, has vowed a tougher line on graft but the
cases have made little progress through Nigeria's criminal justice system.