On Oct. 19, a U.S. federal grand jury charged Congressman Jeff Fortenberry with concealing information and making false statements to federal authorities. He is accused of lying to the authorities during an investigation into Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury’s illegal contributions to U.S. election campaigns in 2016.
Jeff Fortenberry is a 60-year-old congressman who represents Nebraska’s First Congressional District. He has served in Congress since 2005.
According to the U.S. Justice Department (DoJ), Fortenberry “was named in an indictment that charges him with one count of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts and two counts of making false statements to federal investigators.”
U.S. law prohibits foreigners from making financial contributions to election campaigns.
Chagoury contributed $30,000 through straw-men to Fortenberry’s re-election campaign during a fundraiser in Los Angeles in 2016.
The DoJ alleges that the congressman repeatedly lied to and misled authorities while investigating the Nigerian tycoon.
In April, Chagoury entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the DoJ following allegations that he gave about $180,000 to individuals to donate to four candidates taking part in the 2016 Congressional elections.
He paid $1.8 million to resolve the allegations.
Gilbert Chagoury is a Nigerian-Lebanese businessman and philanthropist. He founded Chagoury Group, which owns Eko Hotel and Suites, Eko Atlantic City, HITEC Construction Company Limited and ITB Construction Limited.
He co-founded the company alongside his younger brother, Ronald Chagoury. The Nigeria-based conglomerate has interests in construction, real estate and property development, flour mills, water bottling and purification, glass manufacturing, insurance, hotels, furniture manufacturing, telecommunications, IT, catering and international financing.