A Nigerian businessman Walter Wagbatsoma, 47, was on Wednesday sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment for money laundering in the United Kingdom. Wagbatsoma was also disqualified from being a company director for six years. According to Lincolnshire police, fraudulently obtained funds in the UK were laundered through an account in Dubai under the control of a co-conspirator Oluwatoyin Allison, a UK national who was convicted in his absence at an earlier trial in April 2017 and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. The funds were then transferred to Wagbatsoma’s account in the UK. Following a trial at Leicester Crown Court a thirteenth defendant has been convicted of conspiracy to launder money in an international fraud and money laundering investigation.
This investigation was conducted by Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit under Operation Tarlac, in which over £12m was defrauded from public bodies including hospital trusts, housing associations and councils around the UK. Walter Wagbatsoma, 47, was originally detained on a European Arrest Warrant in June 2016 whilst travelling through Germany. He was extradited soon afterwards and charged with conspiring with others to launder the proceeds of fraud through his business interests in the UK.
Wagbatsoma, an oil and gas businessman, was on trial in Nigeria at the time of his arrest for his part in a £1.9 billion oil subsidy fraud for which he was convicted and sentenced in his absence to 10-years imprisonment in January last year.