The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency of the U.S. Department of Treasury, has placed former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his family members under close watch.
According to a report by online medium, PREMIUM TIMES, new findings have now shown that FinCEN flagged some transactions linked to the senior politician as suspicious as it surveilled money movements within the international financial system.
Information released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has shows that Atiku and his wife, Rukaiyat, are alleged beneficiaries of a Money laundering/Corruption scheme perpetrated by some banks in the United States.
According to investigations carried out by ICIJ, The Abubakars carried out transactions to the tune of $24.6 million dollars from 2012 – 2016 through 4 banks namely; Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, Habib Bank Limited New York, Citibank and BSI AG.
In 2006, Nigerian anti-corruption investigators accused Atiku Abubakar of fraudulently diverting $125 million of state revenue to private interests. U.S. prosecutors also alleged that a Louisiana congressman tried to bribe Atiku Abubakar to help a Nigerian technology company.
On March 5, 2012, Rukaiyatu Abubakar’s Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria sent more than $1 million to a company in the United Arab Emirates, Tanjay Real Estate Brokers. (GTCN exists to “manage a blind trust” for Atiku Abubkar’s benefit, according to documents received by the U.S. Senate.)
Habib Bank Limited in New York filed a suspicious activity report, citing Atiki’s history of alleged corruption, after its Dubai office received the payment. The bank’s Dubai branch explained to the office in New York that the payment was to buy an apartment and that the Dubai branch was “unaware of any existing relationship or affiliation between Tanjay and the Abubakar family.”
Habib Bank reported the transactions because they “crossed multiple high-risk jurisdictions” and because “public sources revealed that there have been numerous investigations of Mr. Abubakar … linking him to corruption allegations.”
These findings, according to the report, also offer fresh insight into how huge funds linked to Atiku may have been moved across international jurisdictions using shell companies.
FinCEN files, a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, BuzzFeed and 108 media partners across the world, including PREMIUM TIMES, are a large volume of confidential financial reports relating to the transaction activities of world leaders, terrorists, drug dealers and money launderers.
The investigation is said to have involved 16-month collaborative work involving more than 400 journalists, including those from PREMIUM TIMES, in 88 countries.
The files included a large number of suspicious-activity reports, SARs, filed by banks and other financial institutions to the US Government as required by the Bank Secrecy Act., with the total amount in suspicious transactions reported being $2 trillion ($2, 099584, 477,415.49).
The SARS flagged subjects, including organisations and individuals, in more than 170 countries, and were obtained and shared by BuzzFeed.
In one of the reports, a $1,018,500 wire transfer on March 5, 2012, was flagged in daily monitoring by Habib Bank Limited New York, HBLNY.
The transfer originated from Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Limited with the beneficiary being Tanjay Real Estate Brokers, a company which held a Habib Bank Limited Dubai account.
It was the link with Atiku that triggered a suspicious activity alert through HBNLY’s transaction monitoring system.
Reacting on Monday through his spokesman, Paul Ibe, in a telephone chat with Daily Trust, Atiku described the allegations as a rehash of old false stories.
He said: “The sequence of events as reported in the story did not make any indictment. Consequently, it’ll be preposterous to assume one.
“As everyone is well aware, developments have shown that the former vice president has a clean profile in clean countries including the United States”.
KanyiDaily recalls that a few months ago, Atiku was linked to a suspected Nigerian cyber-criminal, Raymond Igbalode Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, who is currently in detention in the United States.