Duo jailed over £2.3m Olympic development fraud

Duo jailed over £2.3m Olympic development fraud


Two money launderers who planned to fund a commercial portfolio by illegally obtaining millions of pounds from the Olympic Development Authority (ODA) have been jailed this week.

Abayomi Olowo, 48, was jailed for four-and-a-half years and Ayodele Odukya, 42, was sentenced to three years and nine months, the BBC reported.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the conmen had sent the ODA, responsible for planning and building venues and Games-related infrastructure, a letter pretending to work for construction firm Skanska.

The letter said the company's bank details had changed, ahead of a bank transfer, and in May 2010 the authority paid £2.3 million into a bank account which was held by a third man, Ansumara Kamara, who pretended to be Skanska’s Finance Director.

Kamara, who was the ringleader behind the fraud, pleaded guilty to a series of money laundering charges in September 2010 and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the plan the pair had concocted involved disguising the money trail by sending £2 million to an account in Nigeria, with a view to transferring it back to the UK to buy a parade of commercial properties in Wolverhampton.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Martin Beddoe said: "As the jury has found, both of you were ready and willing participants in the scheme to launder £2.3 million stolen from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). It is of course, a very significant sum of money."

He added: "I am told of the inevitable effect on your families as a consequence of what you did. I take the view that is something you should have thought about before you embarked upon this determined involvement in crime."

The ODA said 95 per cent of the money had been recovered and it hoped the outstanding £68,000 would be recovered through further investigation by Operation Podium.

A spokesman said: "Our payments system was reviewed and strengthened immediately after the incident to further limit the risk of fraud."

Olowo, of Harrow, north-west London, was found guilty of four money laundering offences and Odukya, of Romford, Essex, was found guilty of two charges of money laundering in relation to the fraud.

Six other people, including two women, were cleared by jurors of money laundering charges in relation to the fraud.

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