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Money Laundering: CBN Probes 13 High Profile Nigerians

Just about two weeks after CBN froze accounts of  38 companies over  foreign exchange(forex) infractions, the Central Bank of Nigeria has again ordered banks to provide details of the domiciliary account statements of some high profile customers and other accounts linked to them through their Bank Verification Numbers.

In a letter to all the banks referenced, ‘BSD/DIR/GEN/LAB/13/063, dated September 15, and titled ‘Request for Statement of Accounts’, signed for the Director of Banking Supervision, by Z. Marcus, the Deposit Money Banks were ordered to send details to five listed email addresses by the CBN after listing the names of 16 individuals in the letter. Some of the individuals recently had their company’s bank accounts frozen over forex infractions.

The customers listed included Chief Kesington A. Adebutu; Adebisi A. Adebutu; Ajibola Bankole Adebutu; Olanipekun Orekoya Adebutu; and Olasegun Oladiran Adebutu. The Adebutus are directors of Premier Lotto.

The list also includes Adekunle O. Soname and Ayodeji Ojuroye, owners of Bet9ja.

Other names are Akinola Adekunle Alabi, founder of NairaBet and a member of the House of Representatives; Oluwadamilare Olubukola Alabi; Oluwafemi Babalola; and Adetayo Cosmas Adesanwo.

Some foreigners doing business in the country on the CBN list are David Patrick Grogan; Domenico Giovando; Mauro Ripamonti; Charbel Jabbour Chidiac; and Byron Powell.

Similarly, a number of the persons on the list are linked to the betting industry.

A source expressed worry on the light that had been beamed on the members of Adebutu’s family.

The source said, “apart from being directors of their father’s betting business, these men (the Adebutus) have their own businesses. I know one of them that is into oil business.

“Their businesses have to do with forex; so, they cannot do without using forex.”

Part of the letter to the bank read, “You are required to furnish us with the domiciliary account statements (Excel and PDF format of the under-listed individuals including the domiciliary accounts linked to them by the Bank Verification Number.

“The statement should cover the period January 1, 2013 to July 31, 2020.”

The CBN on September 4 instructed banks to place a post-no-debit on the bank accounts of 38 companies.

It stated in a circular to the banks: “You are hereby required to place the under listed accounts on post-no-debit with immediate effect and revert with the account names, numbers, currencies and balances of all accounts placed on PND.”

The affected accounts belonged to betting companies, bureau de change companies and some logistics companies. The report stated that the companies were accused of forex infractions, economic sabotage, moving forex abroad without the required authorisation. Sources said one of the gaming companies moved $420 million abroad under the guise of purchasing software, only for the funds to be traced to the foreign accounts of some of the directors of the company.

“The forex was sourced from the black market, thereby putting pressure on the exchange rate. The gaming companies are awash with naira which sit in their bank accounts, so they devised a way of moving the funds abroad,”  the source said.


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