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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power