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Published On: Tue, Sep 17th, 2019

UK Court Order Banker To Return £7.3m He Laundered For Ibori Or Face Imprisonment

LAGOS SEPTEMBER 17TH (URHOBOTODAY)-A court in the United Kingdom has ordered a former Goldman Sachs banker, who was described as the linchpin in the money laundering schemes of James Ibori, to return £7.3 million he helped the former governor of Delta State launder or be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The ruling comes as the UK authorities are processing the confiscation of the assets owned by Mr Ibori, who was sentenced to 13 years in jail by a UK court after he admitted to laundering £50 million stolen from the treasury of Delta State in 2011.
Mr Ibori was released in 2016 and has since returned to Nigeria where he is still a major kingmaker in his native Delta State.
Last week, the Southwark Crown Court ruled that Elias Preko, a 60-year-old, Harvard-trained banker, who managed Mr Ibori’s money laundering operations and was jailed four and a half years in 2013, must return the money within three months or face another 10 years in jail, the UK Independent Newspaper reports.
Mr Preko was one of four persons convicted alongside Mr Ibori for his grand money laundering schemes. Others who were convicted included, Mr Ibori’s wife, his mistress, sister, and lawyer.
The order followed an investigation by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
“Professional enablers such as Elias Preko, who use their legitimate position within the finance industry to conceal the illicit funds of criminals and corrupt elites, are the lynchpin of the billions of dollars laundered through the UK each year,” said the Kim Kitney, the agency’s head of financial investigations.

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