18 Jan 2018
Nigerian businessman Walter Wagbatsoma has been sentenced to three years and six months in prison for using his business interests in the United Kingdom to launder the proceeds of fraud.
He was also disqualified from being a company director for six years.
Wagbatsoma was part of a crime syndicate in which over £12 million was defrauded from public bodies such as hospitals and schools across the UK.
Fraudulently obtained funds in the UK were laundered through an account in Dubai under the control of a co-conspirator Oluwatoyin Allison, and then transferred onto Wagbatsoma’s account in the UK.
At the time of his arrest, he was on trial in Nigeria for his role in a £1.9 billion oil subsidy fraud, according to Lincolnshire Police.
He was convicted and sentenced in his absence to 10-years imprisonment in January last year.
Whilst travelling through Germany, he was detained on a European Arrest Warrant in June 2016.
Wagbatsoma’s case is the third criminal trial for Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit’s Operation Tarlac, which has been investigating a crime syndicate’s scheme of defrauding public bodies of millions.
After a four-year investigation, those convicted have received prison sentences in excess of 50-years
and proceedings are underway to recover the gains of the conspiracy under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor said: “Operation Tarlac has now seen thirteen individuals given lengthy prison sentences for their part in an international offence, which has had a national impact on public bodies in the UK.
“Proceedings are now underway to recover a large amount of money, and I want to personally thank partners for their support and co-operation with us in this investigation and congratulate my officers and staff on a job well done.”
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