The Leicester Crown Court, United Kingdom, on Thursday convicted a Nigerian businessman, Walter Wagbatsoma, of money laundering. The English court sentenced him to a jail term of three and a half years.A. Lagos State High Court in Ikeja had last year convicted him in absentia alongside his company of fuel subsidy fraud.
According to the Lincolnshire Police website, Wagbatsoma’s conviction in the UK, was based on investigation by Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit under Operation Tarlac. The investigation was said to have revealed that over £12m was stolen from public agencies, including hospital trusts , housing associations and councils in the United Kingdom.
The funds were then transferred to Wagbatsoma’s account in the United Kingdom. The 47- year -old Nigerian was named as the 13th defendant convicted in the trial. He was initially detained on a European arrest warrant in June 2016 while travelling through Germany. Shortly afterwards, he was extradited and charged with conspiring with others to launder the proceeds of fraud through his businesses in the United Kingdom.
He was also barred from being a company director for six years. Wagbatsoma , who calls himself an oil and gas businessman, was facing prosecution in Nigeria at the time of his arrest for his part in the multi-billion naira oil subsidy fraud and was sentenced , in his absence , to 10-year imprisonment last January.