LAGOS, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Nigerian opposition presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has said he is willing to disclose his assets if required by law and has denied a new corruption charge against him ahead of the February 25 election. the BBC reported on Tuesday.

Atiku, who was vice president from 1999 to 2007, is the leading candidate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party and is among the top three contenders to replace President Muhammadu Buhari, whose final term ends in May.

The candidate, a 76-year-old businessman, has previously faced allegations of corruption, which he denies.

Atiku told the BBC that he would disclose his assets if a law requiring it were enacted and would “take them in good faith” if he lost the election.

“The law does not establish that we must make it public (the assets). But if the law says we have to go public, I’ll go public. I don’t care,” he said.

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A ruling party official last week filed a motion with the Abuja High Court asking it to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other agencies to arrest and prosecute Atiku over leaked audio.

In the audio, which Reuters has not verified, someone who sounds like Atiku describes a plan to divert funds from government projects and cover up that the person received the money.

Asked to comment on the audio, Atiku told the BBC: “That voice hasn’t revealed anything new.”

When asked if it was his voice on the audio, he said: “Nothing new.”

“Everything I know, every corrupt practice or corruption charge against me has been investigated in this country more than anyone else and nothing was found against me.”

Atiku figured prominently in the corruption trial of former US Representative William Jefferson, who was accused of attempting to bribe Atiku in an effort to expand a technology business in Nigeria. Jefferson was convicted in 2009 and sentenced to 13 years in prison. His sentence was later reduced.

Separately, US Senate investigators in 2010 alleged that one of Atiku’s four wives helped him transfer more than $40 million in “suspicious funds” into the United States from offshore shell companies.

Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Edited by Cynthia Osterman

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