A 65-metre Galactica Star superyacht belonging to Nigerian oil tycoons, Kolawole Aluko and Jide Omokore, has been sold over alleged fraud.
The Federal Government and its United States counterpart collaboratively sold the yacht valued at N15.2 billion after accusing the business magnates of siphoning huge sum of money in the nation’s oil and gas industry during ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
The U.S. Justice Department had in 2017 filed a lawsuit seeking to recover assets that include N18.1 billion Manhattan apartment and the yacht that were allegedly bought with money generated from money laundering.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had also filed a suit seeking permanent forfeiture of some assets purportedly owned by Omokore at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The EFCC had in the suit described the assets as proceeds of money laundering and fraud.
Omokore is a close friend of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is also wanted by the EFCC to stand trial for corruption and other unethical conducts during her stint as minister from 2011-2015.
In the U.S. lawsuit filed at the Federal Court in Houston, the U.S government alleged that Aluko and Omokore conspired with others to pay bribes Mrs Alison-Madueke.
“The ex-minister, in turn, steered lucrative contracts with a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to firms owned by the duo.
Despite being unqualified and in some instances failing entirely to perform services under the contracts, these companies received more than N542.8 million through the sale of crude oil, ” the charge sheet read.
The Justice Department claimed Aluko and Omokore later laundered their illicit revenues through the U.S. and used the money to buy N52.1 billion in assets including the Manhattan condominium and the yacht.
The yacht, according to Yacht Harbour, was custom-built by Dutch yard Heesen in 2013. It is the second-largest ever built by Heesen, a Dutch shipbuilding company that specializes in custom-built superyachts.
The vessel features exterior styling by Omega Architects, engineering by Van Oossanen & Associates, finished by interiors from the boards of Bannenberg & Rowell.
The yacht, also known as Galactica Star accommodates up to 12 guests overnight in six cabins, comprising a master suite, one VIP stateroom, and four double cabins. It is also capable of carrying up to 13 crew members onboard to ensure a relaxed luxury yacht experience.