UK court asks Ibori’s banker friend to return £7.3m or risk jail – Independent Observers

UK court asks Ibori’s banker friend to return £7.3m or risk jail

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By Kunle Adedoyin

A UK court has ordered Ellias Preko, a Ghanaian former investment banker with Goldman Sach, who was convicted for helping former Delta governor, James Ibori, launder money to pay back £7.3 million.

DailyMail UK reports that the court gave the 60-year-old an option of paying the fine or spending 10 years in prison.

Preko was jailed in 2013 for 54 months for his role in the scheme.

He was said to have used his ‘gold-plated credentials, expertise and veneer of respectability’ to help Ibori take money out of Nigeria and hide such in offshore accounts.

David Tomlison, the judge who heard the case, gave the Harvard graduate three months to repay the money or risk jail term.

When asked, Preko said he used the money he received from those transactions to run for political office on the platform of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Ghana.

Ibori was jailed for 13 years in 2012 after he admitted stealing state funds during an eight-year term of office.

The court heard how he looted and laundered about £160 million from the state government treasury.

Preko, who represented himself, told the court in a previous hearing much of the cash had been spent on election campaigning back in his native Ghana.

“Most of the expenses are not receipted. Ghanaian political activities are not financed by the state,” he said, explaining that he only had few receipts.

I spent money to attempt some acceptance because I had been out of the country for so long. I gave money to women to build schools, provide scholarships, just to get my name out there.”

During his court appearance, Ibori had pleaded guilty to a seven-count charge of fraud and money laundering.

He was sentenced to a 13-year jail term and returned to Nigeria in February 2017.

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