The wife of the former Governor of Delta state has been found guilty on two counts of money laundering and was sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.
Theresa Ibori, 42, stood trial in court as prosecutors unravelled a complex rags-to-riches story involving fraud, extra-marital affairs and a team of criminal minds. A jury was told of how Ibori had a £3 million trust fund set up for her by her husband, James Ibori.
Ibori’s defence lawyers presented a case of a woman who didn’t know the extent of her husband’s illegal activity and as an african wife, couldn’t challenge him on what she was aware of. Her husband’s affair with mistress Udoamaka Onuigbo, who was sentenced on three charges of money laundering this June, was also mentioned in court but had little effect in building up a convincing case of the ‘down-trodden African wife’.
This may be because she told the Southwark Crown Court jury that she enjoyed a life of ill-gotten luxury while her husband was governor in the Delta region – famous for the country’s oil. This luxury included more than 17 personal aides and several expensive homes in the UK – including a mansion worth £5 million in the English town of Dorset.
Ibori stood trial with Bhadresh Gohil, her husband’s lawyer, who was also found guilty on all counts on money laundering. He remains in poilce custody to be sentenced at the end of another trial in which he faces similar allegations.
Earlier in the year, the ex governor’s sister, Christine Ibori, was found guilty of embezzling an estimated $101.5 million from Delta state into multiple UK bank accounts. She was sentenced to five years. James Ibori is currently
awaiting extradition from Dubai to return to the UK – where he is also due to face charges of money laundering.