Public authority in charge of Olympic infrastructure conned out of £2.3 million


The public authority in charge of building the infrastructure for the Olympics was conned out of £2.3 million by fraudsters who pretended to represent one of its key contractors.

Six men and two women appeared in the dock yesterday charged with money laundering the stolen millions by filtering it through different accounts, taking it out in cash or trying to transfer it abroad, “muddying the waters” in an attempt to end the banking paper trail.

Southwark Crown Court heard that the original con was “simple and straightforward invoice fraud”. A man using the false name Anthony Webb wrote to the Olympic Delivery Authority, claiming to represent the construction giant Skanska, and informing them that the company bank account had been changed. The ODA promptly transferred £2.3 million it owed into the bogus account on 27 May 2010.

James Dawes, prosecuting, explained that this was all part of a sophisticated plan - using bogus identities, companies, bank accounts and email addresses – to steal £6 million over a matter of days. Using different names, the fraudsters targeted Network Rail, Dorset County Council and two building firms with the same ploy. But their plan was foiled within days and only the transfer from the ODA and £86,645 from one of Skanska's suppliers ever went through.

A plan to defraud the council – which is responsible for the Olympic village in Weymouth - of more than £1.3 million was averted by a “sharp-eyed employee”.

“Although the plan was to steal £6 million, they in fact only stole about £2.4 million because some of the companies, the authority and the council became alert to the fraud at a reasonably early stage. They were able to claw back some of the money,” said Mr Dawes, explaining that accounts were frozen as soon as the crime was flagged up.

Mr Dawes said the bank account into which the ODA transferred money owed to Skanska was in fact in the name of AK Legal Solutions, owned by a man called Ansumara Kamara, who used a variety of false names, was arrested two days later and had appeared in another trial.

He explained to the jury that the smartly dressed defendants had been accomplices who had helped in one way or another to try and hide the stolen money quickly.. The plan was to transfer £2 million to Nigeria before returning it to buy property, using a bogus firm of solicitors to vouch for the deposit.

“This case relates to what they tried to do with the £2 million. It involved taking it out in cash and to send the money out of the country to Nigeria where the trail would be effectively broken,” said the barrister, adding: “It may be suggested that Kamara was a one man band, a one man crime way. You may think otherwise.”

Nigerian-born Shamsidden Owo, 75, of East London, and his son Abayomi Olowo, 48, of Harrow, both deny four counts of money laundering while Ayodele Odukoya, 42, of Romford and Ms Shakeela Ayub, 28, of Leeds, have pleaded not guilty to two counts each. Nadeem Khan, 38, of Slough, Ms Mbinty Kargbo, 26, a Dutch national living in London, Sanjeev Kumar, 30, of Bilston, West Midlands, and Sakiru Adewale, 57, all deny a single count.

A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape