NIGERIA tops the list of African countries with looted funds in real estate in the United States.
The United States revealed this in a money laundering report which showed that over $2.3bn had been concealed by African countries through the US real estate in the last five years.
The report revealed that those laundered funds involved political figures in Nigeria, The Gambia, Republic of Congo and Guinea.
The study which later became a report titled, ‘Acres of Money Laundering: Why US Real Estate is a Kleptocrat’s Dream’ revealed global money laundering and how politically exposed people in African countries channel their loot to invest and buy shares in companies with hazy ownership structures.
The report revealed that 60.71% of US cases had more to do with properties in one or more non-Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) countries, outlining the limitation of the location’s regulatory tool.
It also showed that more than 50% of reported cases in US involved politically exposed persons.
According to the report, to better understand the extent of real estate money laundering in the US and identify trends, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) analysed 125 cases reported between 2015 and 2020 in the US, the UK and Canada.
“Through a combination of case analysis and regulatory analysis, GFI provides conclusive evidence that the current US approach of using GTOs is inadequate to address money laundering in the real estate sector,” it added.