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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.

The Eko Atlantic development in Lagos, Nigeria.

The Eko Atlantic development in Lagos, Nigeria.

Photographer: Paul Richardson/Bloomberg

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.

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.