Authorities in Seychelles have opened a criminal investigation into the multi-million dollar assets which Senate President Bukola Saraki and his wife, Toyin, are believed to hold through offshore shell companies in tax havens, PREMIUM TIMES can report.
Bukola and Toyin Saraki are being targeted by financial intelligence operatives for their “suspicious” use of offshore shell companies as uncovered in the Panama Papers investigation published in 2016, according to new records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with PREMIUM TIMES and other partners.
Investigators at the Seychelles Financial Intelligence Unit said they are interested in determining whether or not Mrs Saraki stood as a front for her husband in the ownership of some of the offshore holdings linked to the family when a trove of offshore assets managed by Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, was leaked to the media.
The investigators are also working to determine if the transactions undertaken with the shell companies were used to launder funds or carry out other suspicious activities.
Two weeks after the Sarakis were exposed as owning undeclared offshore assets in violation of Nigeria’s code of conduct regulations, detectives from that country’s FIU asked Mossack Fonseca to furnish them with all documents relating to Sandon Developments Ltd, a firm registered in Seychelles under Toyin Saraki ’s name.
Mossack Fonseca responded to the request on April 29, 2016, by forwarding a link to the PREMIUM TIMES article on the Panama Papers as well as all documents relating to Sandon Ltd, including international passports and business activities.
The status of the investigation, however remained unclear as there is no record of any update about it since Mossack Fonseca responded to the authorities’ requests at the end of April 2016.