Feds trying to seize One57 condo in Nigerian corruption case

Prosecutors say Kolawole “Kola” Aluko bought the pad as part of a money laundering scheme

TRD New York /
Jul.July 17, 2017 01:05 PM

Kola Aluko and One57 (Credit: Twitter and One57)

The U.S. government wants to seize a penthouse condominium unit at One57 and a yacht that belongs to Nigerian energy magnate Kolawole “Kola” Aluko, claiming they were bought as part of a $144 million money laundering scheme.

The Justice Department filed the lawsuit on Friday in Houston, Bloomberg reported. It claims both the penthouse at One57 TRData LogoTINY, which cost $50.9 million, and the $80 million yacht called the Galactica Star were paid for with money Aluko made by bribing the oil minister in Nigeria, according to the New York Post.

Aluko, executive director of Atlantic Energy, had not been keeping up with payments on the 6,240-square-foot unit. Luxembourg-based Banque Havilland, which issued a $35.3 million mortgage due last fall, is foreclosing on the apartment. It is due to be sold at auction this week.

The foreclosure is the second at Extell Development’s ultra-luxe development in a matter of months, and has raised questions about the health of Billionaires’ Row.

Aluko is accused of bankrolling his extravagant lifestyle with funds he scored by defrauding the Nigerian government of its oil sale profits. The suit alleges that Aluko and another man paid bribes to the Nigerian oil minister, who in return directed contracts to shell companies owned by the pair. They are accused of then laundering the money in the U.S. by purchasing $144 million in assets, including the condo and the yacht.

“Corrupt foreign officials and business executives should make no mistake: if illicit funds are within the reach of the United States, we will seek to forfeit them and to return them to the victims from whom they were stolen,” acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in a statement cited by Bloomberg. [NYP] and [Bloomberg]Miriam Hall

Related Articles

One Manhattan Square Extell Development CEO Gary Barnett (Credit: Curbed NY)

Extell lands $690M refinancing package for One Manhattan Square

250th Issue

The Real Deal celebrates 250 issues

From left: Publisher and founder Amir Korangy, Editor-in-chief Stuart Elliott and VP of Corporate Development Yoav Barilan

TRD’s founders share war stories from over the years

56 Leonard Street (Credit: iStock)

He invested more than $130M into 4 Manhattan condos. Now he’s taking a hit

Nationwide foreclosures are at a 15-year low (Credit: iStock)

Foreclosures nationwide fell to 15-year low in 2019

Due to relatively high income levels and low transportation costs, New York City is the eight most affordable of 20 major cities (Credit: iStock)

NYC is the 8th most affordable big city in America*

53 West 53rd Street, 885 Park Avenue, 70 West 45th Street (Credit: StreetEasy)

Five priciest homes to hit the market last week all over $22M

118 East 76th Street and Developer Joseph Chetrit (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

Manhattan luxury home market off to worst start in seven years