An agency U.S. Department of Treasury, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), has for years been monitoring the finances of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his family, and going as far as flagging some transactions as suspicious.
As a vice president of Nigeria, Atiku was seen as a Politically Exposed Person and according to a Premium Times report, and a $1,018,500 wire transfer on March 5, 2012, was flagged in daily monitoring by Habib Bank Limited New York, HBLNY.
The Premium Times report quoted a Habib Bank Limited New report, which flagged a number of suspicious transactions traced to Atiku or companies he had interest in.
The news report said the transfer originated from Guernsey Trust Company Nigeria Limited (GTCN) with the beneficiary being Tanjay Real Estate Brokers, a company which held a Habib Bank Limited Dubai account.
The report mentioned several instances, quoting figures and dates where transfers were made and flagged as suspicious activities, with some relating to one or another of Atiku’s four wives.
And with Atiku as the beneficial owner, GTCN, a trust corporation was incorporated in Nigeria in 2003 to hold his 16 per cent stake in Intels Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s oil and gas logistics giant. This entity has been locked in a business battle with the Nigerian Ports Authority in the past years.
In 1999, Atiku became Nigeria’s Vice-president and, thus, created a blind trust to hold his asset in Intels. It was the blind trust created in 1999 that GTCN was incorporated to manage in 2003, with Gabrielle Volpi. Akintola Kekere-Ekun, a banker, and Uyiekpen Osagie, a lawyer, as its directors and trustees.
“An investigation (of the March 2012 wire transfer) identified GTCN as an alleged shell company that has been used to transfer over USD 10 million via wire transfers through U.S. banks on behalf of the former vice-president of Nigeria, Mr Atiku Abubakar,” HBLNY reported.
“HBLNY’s review of public sources revealed that there have been numerous investigations of Mr Abubakar, as senior Politically Exposed Person (PEP), linking him to corruption allegations, possible Foreign Corrupt Practices Act foreign violations and money laundering.”