Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Nigeria: Three banks under investigation for roles in fraud and money laundering scheme

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The Lagos State Police Command is investigating three new-generation banks for alleged fraud and money laundering of $450,267.82, the naira equivalent of N162,765,000.00.

Two suspects, including a bank staff, have been arrested in connection with the fraud and the Area ‘F’ Police Commander, ACP Akinbayo Olasoji, who is the lead investigator in the case, is quizzing them.

A police source at Command Headquarters, Ikeja, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “Two bank staff, are with the Area F commander, who is personally investigating the case. It is a serious cartel of three banks. The banks are being investigated, as they assisted in laundering the money. They knew the money was the proceeds of fraud.

“Aside from the $450,267.82, another N1.5 billion is also hanging on the necks of the banks. The banks have been invited. One of the banks’ staff has made a confessional statement linking the management staff as members of the money-laundering cartel.

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“The $450,267.82 is a proceed of fraud from the account of Karmen J. Verney and Helen Galberth from a bank in the United States of America, which was paid into an account in one of the banks for the purpose of naira exchange of about N162.785,000, and which was further credited into various accounts domiciled in the bank.

“In furtherance of investigation into the allegations, the staff under investigation and his wife got N52,060.200 and another N12,250,000.00 in another fraudulent deal of $97,100.00. A total of N1,508,882.747 was credited into his account from September 10, 2018, to November 26, 2019, while an account in another bank was credited with a total of N8,363,600.85 from September 3, 2018, to November 27, 2019.”

The source noted that the police had taken up the matter with the banks and the outcomes had been varied, as one of the banks had been cooperating with investigators, while another bank was of the position that they did nothing wrong.

According to him, the first bank was “claiming to be the complainant in the matter, but they kept the money for the suspect without reporting to relevant agencies, meaning that it had ulterior motives. If not for our investigation, the bank was enjoying the proceeds of crime. Money laundering is a serious crime.

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“The police are investigating so as to bring those involved in the crime to book. About four senior management staff of the banks will be invited for questioning.

“How can a bank staff have as much as N1 billion in his account? How much is his salary for life? We need to do something to fish out the bad eggs in the financial institutions,” he said.

The spokesman for one of the three implicated banks exonerated his organisation from the dirty deal.

He stressed that the bank “has no hand in the fraud. The transaction was not carried out by our bank. It was carried out using another bank. One of the suspects is our staff but he did not carry out the transaction in the name of the bank. He did it in his personal capacity.”

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