Home Business US govt indicts Air Peace CEO in bank fraud, money laundering

US govt indicts Air Peace CEO in bank fraud, money laundering

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The United States government has charged the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, with an alleged $20 million fraud and money laundering.

Announcing the indictment of the founder of the Nigerian airline, on Friday, the US Department of Justice, in a statement, said Onyema was being charged with bank fraud and money laundering “for moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.”

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Also, the international airline’s Chief of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, was charged with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme.

ALSO READ: Nigeria loses $3bn in capital flight to foreign airlines — AON • Applauds FG’s support for Air Peace

According to the statement, “Onyema allegedly leveraged his status as a prominent business leader and airline executive while using falsified documents to commit fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We will diligently protect the integrity our banking system from being corrupted by criminals, even when they disguise themselves in a cloak of international business.”

But reacting through his lawyer, A.O. Alegeh & Co, Onyema denied the allegation, saying “allegations are unfounded and strange to him.”

The statement reads: “On behalf of Allen Onyema, we hereby state that he strongly denies and will vigorously defend himself against the allegations made against him by the US Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia in relation to purchase of Aircraft, Aircraft spares and Aircraft maintenance. None of the allegations involve any third party funds but relate to his funds utilized in the Airline business. There is no allegation that any Bank [in the United States, Nigeria or elsewhere], Company or individual suffered any financial or any loss whatsoever.
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“The allegations are unfounded and strange to him. Allen Onyema has a track record built on honesty and integrity and will take all necessary steps to clear his good name and hard earned reputation. He looks forward to an opportunity to rebut these allegations in Court.”

Also, the Air Peace lawyers reacting in a separate statement on allegations against Eghagha, the Administration and Finance chief of the airline, absolved her of being culpable in any illicit bank deal, insisting that the allegations against her too are “allegations are unfounded and strange to her.”

The statement reads: “On behalf of Mrs Ejiro Eghagha, we hereby state that she strongly denies and will vigorously defend herself against the allegations made against her by the US Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia in relation to purchase of Aircraft, Aircraft spares and Aircraft maintenance for her employer. None of the allegations involve any third party funds but relate to funds belonging to her employer and utilized in the Airline business. There is no allegation that any Bank [in the United States, Nigeria or elsewhere], Company or individual suffered any financial or any loss whatsoever.

“The allegations are unfounded and strange to her. Mrs Ejiro Eghagha has built her reputation as a seasoned, honest and responsible person and will take all necessary steps to clear her good name and hard earned reputation. She looks forward to an opportunity to rebut these allegations in Court.

However, the US government in its statement had alleged that the Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented on the indictment found the duo of Onyema and Eghagha culpable.

Source: Read The Original Article On  Tribune

 

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