Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Bombardier Inc. flags fly outside a Bombardier plant in Montreal on May 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

A court in Montreal has authorized the seizure of a Bombardier private jet as part of a Nigerian government effort to recover assets from a key figure in one of Africa’s biggest corruption cases.

The luxury jet, purchased for US$57-million by a former Nigerian cabinet minister in 2011, flew into Montreal-Trudeau International Airport on May 29 and became the subject of a court order within hours of its landing, according to reports that emerged on the weekend. Bombardier says it is not a party in the court case and did not sell the plane to the cabinet minister.

Justice Chantal Masse of the Quebec Superior Court, responding to a Nigerian government request, ordered on May 30 that bailiffs seize the Bombardier 6000 jet with tail number M-MYNA. The plane had reportedly been flown from Dubai to Montreal for a servicing to allow it to be sold.

Story continues below advertisement

Justice Masse authorized the court’s bailiffs to “take control of and possession of the jet and the log book, and take all necessary action to ensure their preservation,” the court order says.

The former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete, was a central figure in a massive US$1.3-billion oil deal that involved the multinational oil giants Shell and Eni. The deal is now the focus of a corruption trial in Italy, where Mr. Etete and others are facing charges.

Mr. Etete allegedly paid a US$54-million deposit for the Bombardier jet on the same day when he received US$336-million as part of the Nigerian oil deal. He also reportedly purchased three armoured Cadillacs and a batch of luxury shotguns in the same spending spree. Big-game hunting is one of his hobbies.

Mark Masluch, a spokesman for Bombardier Aviation, said on Sunday that Bombardier did not sell the aircraft to Mr. Etete or any other Nigerian client. Bombardier is not a party to the Montreal court order, was unaware of the court order and was not involved in the servicing of the plane, Mr. Masluch told The Globe and Mail.

Mr. Etete was oil minister in the final days of the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha, who died mysteriously in 1998. As minister, he allegedly awarded the rights to the lucrative OPL 245 oil block to a company that he secretly controlled, and later transferred the block to Shell and Eni in exchange for massive payments to the Nigerian government and to others, including himself.

The oil companies, along with Mr. Etete and other defendants in the corruption trial in Italy, have all denied any wrongdoing.

Nigerian authorities have also issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Etete in connection with the OPL 245 oil deal. He denies any wrongdoing.

Story continues below advertisement

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa with 200 million people, is the biggest oil producer on the continent. But corruption is widespread among its political elite, and nearly half of Nigerians live in poverty, despite the country’s vast oil wealth.

A Nigerian government lawyer, who has been trying to recover the alleged proceeds of the OPL 245 oil deal since 2016, provided an affidavit to the Quebec court to justify the seizure of the airplane.

The jet was reportedly grounded for four years in Dubai, where Mr. Etete has a residence, before its unexpected flight to Montreal, which the lawyer and his investigators followed from flight-tracking data.

It is unclear whether Mr. Etete still controls the jet. The court order suggests that the plane’s official owner is Tibit Ltd., an anonymously owned company that was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.

Finance Uncovered, a non-profit London-based investigative reporting unit, said this weekend that Tibit’s sole director is a Montreal-based former employee of Bombardier, Giuseppina Russa, who is named in the court order. She told Finance Uncovered that she had been hired as a contractor to decorate the plane’s interior but had no dealings with Tibit since 2013 and had asked to be removed as a director several years ago. She left Bombardier in 2008, Mr. Masluch said.

In 2015, Bombardier sold a similar jet for US$52-million to South Africa’s Gupta brothers, a business family that was at the heart of South Africa’s biggest post-apartheid corruption scandal. The Guptas are facing criminal investigation for their business dealings with the son of former president Jacob Zuma, who resigned in 2018 under pressure from the corruption scandal.

Story continues below advertisement

The Gupta deal was financed by Canada’s export agency, Export Development Canada, which later investigated the deal and admitted it had made errors by providing a loan to the Guptas.

Documents suggest that Mr. Etete has purchased a mansion in the same exclusive Dubai property development where the Guptas own property, Finance Uncovered says.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies