Jeff Fortenberry, a US congressman, was deposed by a Nigerian billionaire

For lying about funding ties to an African billionaire, a US lawmaker could be expelled from Congress. A federal jury found that Nebraska Republican Jeff Fortenberry lied to the FBI about receiving illegal donations from high-flying Nigerian businessman Gilbert Chagoury.

On three felony counts, he could face a sentence of 15 years in prison. The case has also re-ignited debate over foreign influencers’ access to US politics. Foreign nationals are prohibited from making political contributions, but Mr Chagoury, 75, has made several. The US government fined him $1.8 million (£1.4 million) in 2019, and some of his donors were investigated. In 2016, he made an illegal donation to Fortenberry of $30,000 (£22,736), funnelling the funds to the congressman through donors at a Los Angeles event.

Mr Chagoury, a Paris-based industrialist, was well-known. His name is engraved on a wing of the Louvre Museum, and he was once denied entry to the United States due to alleged ties to Hezbollah militants. He was once a top adviser to Nigerian military ruler Sani Abacha, who was later found to have stolen billions from the country while serving as its president in the 1990s.

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