The Department of Justice has filed a civil forfeiture complaint seeking to seize a mansion in Maryland that was allegedly acquired with an estimated $3.5 million in corruption proceeds by Yahya Jammeh, former president of The Gambia.
According to the complaint, the accused allegedly acquired millions by embezzling public funds and soliciting bribes from businesses seeking to control various sectors of The Gambia’s economy. The former president purportedly conspired with family members and associates to funnel the money into shell companies and overseas trusts, where it was laundered through the purchase of assets around the world.
“Yahya Jammeh is a former president of The Gambia who allegedly plundered hundreds of millions of dollars from his country and laundered part of those funds to corruptly acquire real estate in the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt. “Our action today highlights the tireless work of the Criminal Division’s Kleptocracy Initiative and their global law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of the U.S. financial system and recover the ill-gotten gains of corrupt officials.”
One of the former president’s alleged assets include a luxury mansion in Potomac, Maryland, which was purportedly purchased through a trust set up by his wife. The U.S. government is seeking to seize that mansion, which is valued at over $3 million, using civil forfeiture.
“Ex-Gambian President Yahya Jammeh and his wife thought that they could hide funds stolen from the Gambian people by buying a mansion in Potomac, Maryland,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur for the District of Maryland. “This action demonstrates that the United States will not allow criminals to profit from their crimes and will seek justice for crime victims both here and abroad.”
The former Gambian president was ousted from power in January 2017 and went into exile. He allegedly stole millions from the state’s coffers and additionally siphoned at least $50 million from the country’s state social security, ports, and the national telecommunications companies. According to the Gambian government, the former president’s actions saddled the country with a debt of more than $1 billion.
In December 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order that specifically named the former president as among “human rights abusers and corrupt actors” whose US-based assets are to be frozen. The order listed a dozen companies connected to the former president that were to be blocked by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Civil asset forfeiture is a legal process used by prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to seize property—real estate, cash, vehicles—believed to be connected to criminal activity, often even if the property owner has not been arrested or convicted of a crime.
If your property has been seized by law enforcement using civil asset forfeiture, then you should immediately consult an experienced attorney who can review the evidence and assist you in having your property returned to you.
South Florida Civil Asset Forfeiture Attorney
Has your lawful property been seized using asset forfeiture? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced civil asset forfeiture defense attorneys.