Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Mega-Consulate Ties U.S. to Convicted Billionaire in Nigeria

The U.S. has gone into business with a man once convicted of money laundering to build its largest consulate in the world. On March 31, billionaire Gilbert Chagoury stood atop the plot of land he’d dredged from the sea around Lagos, beaming in the sweltering heat alongside U.S. Consul-General to Nigeria Claire Pierangelo, as they broke ground for America’s largest consulate in the world. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-10/mega-consulate-ties-u-s-to-convicted-billionaire-in-nigeria) As a cool spring rain fell on Washington that day, Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, of Nebraska, resigned from the House of Representatives after a conviction announced a week earlier. His crime: lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about illegal campaign contributions he’d received from Chagoury. The pageantry in Lagos obscured the uncomfortable fact that by placing its $537 million consulate on Chagoury’s Eko Atlantic development, the U.S. government was becoming the anchor tenant for a project run by a man who was once convicted of laundering money for a Nigerian dictator and who’s admitted to making illegal campaign contributions in the U.S.

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