Two found guilty of Olympic money-laundering

 

Two men have been jailed for money laundering following a £2.3 million fraud against the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Ayodele Odukoya, 42, of Paignton Close, Romford, Essex, was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail after being found guilty of two charges of money laundering in relation to the fraud.

Abayomi Olowo, 48, of Windsor Road, Harrow, north west London, who was found guilty of four money laundering offences, received a prison sentence of four-and-a-half years.

Judge Martin Beddoe, sentencing Odukoya and Olowo, 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."

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

A third man, Ansumara Kamara, pleaded guilty to a series of money laundering charges in 2010 and was sentenced last year to three-and-a-half years in jail.

The convictions and sentencing come after Southwark Crown Court was told a gang of fraudsters tricked the ODA out of £2.3 million.

The court was told that conmen had contacted the ODA, responsible for planning and building venues and Games-related infrastructure, pretending to work for construction firm Skanska.

The authority was told that the company, which has worked on numerous projects for the 2012 Olympic Games, was changing its bank account details and that all future payments should be made into the new account, jurors were told.

The authority then made a payment in May 2010 of £2.3 million into the account which was in fact held by Kamara, described in court as ringleader.

After the money was paid, Kamara then made a series of rapid transactions to try to cover his tracks, prosecutor James Dawes told the court.

Southwark Crown Court heard today that more than £2 million has been recovered so far from the fraud.

The six cleared today of money laundering charges were Shamsidden Owo, 75, of Brookfield Road, Hackney, east London, the father of Olowo and who was found not guilty of four counts of money laundering.

Shakeela Ayub, 28, of Brudenell Road, Leeds, was acquitted of two counts.

Nadeem Khan, 38, of Richmond Crescent, Slough, Berkshire; Mbinty Kargbo, 26, of Crofton Road, Camberwell, south-east London; Sanjeev Kumar, 30, of Bell Street, Bilston, West Midlands; and Sakiru Adewale, 58, of no fixed abode, were also cleared of one charge each.

Sue Patten, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's central fraud group, said: "Fraud is about money making and is motivated by greed. In this case, the fraudsters directly targeted scarce public funds earmarked to ensure the success of London 2012.

"Thanks to the quick action of those involved, £2.14 million was immediately frozen and those responsible now face custodial sentences."

An ODA spokesman said: "We are pleased that this case has now reached a conclusion. The vast majority of the money, around 95%, was recovered although we now hope that the remaining £68,000 can be retrieved through further investigation by Operation Podium.

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

PA

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