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Allen Onyema, Air Peace CEO, Indicted for Fraud, Money Laundering in US

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Air Peace Onyema
  • Allen Onyema, Air Peace CEO, Indicted for Fraud, Money Laundering in US

The United States Department of Justice on Friday indicted Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyema, the Chairman and founder of Air Peace, for bank fraud and money laundering involving the transfer of more than $20 million from Nigeria through the United States bank accounts with false documents.

The Department of Justice also charged Ejiroghene Eghagha, the Chief of Administration and Finance, Air Peace, with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme.

According to DOJ, Onyema, who founded several organisations like Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, and All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited meant to promote peace across Nigeria, started travelling frequently to Atlanta, USA in 2010. However, between 2010 and 2018, Onyema had opened several personal and business bank accounts with over $44.9 million moved into his Atlanta-based accounts from foreign sources.

In 2013, Onyema founded Air Peace and acquired multiple airplanes from the United States. The DOJ, however, said $3 million of the funds used in the acquisition of the airplanes came from bank accounts opened for Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited, and Every Child Limited.

The U.S. Department of Justice said by May 2016, the Air Peace founder with Eghagha used several ‘export letters of credit’ to cause banks to transfer more than $20 million into Onyema’s Atlanta-based bank accounts to fund the purchase of five Boeing 737 passenger planes.

These letters of credit were backed by purchase agreements, bills of sale, and appraisals proving that Air Peace was acquiring the aircraft from a business registered in Georgia, Springfield Aviation Company LLC.

However, “the supporting documents were fake — Springfield Aviation Company LLC, which is owned by Onyema and managed by a person with no connection to the aviation business, never owned the aircraft, and the company that allegedly drafted the appraisals did not exist. Eghagha allegedly participated in this scheme as well, directing the Springfield Aviation manager to sign and send false documents to banks and even using the manager’s identity to further the fraud. After Onyema received the money in the United States, he allegedly laundered over $16 million of the proceeds of the fraud by transferring it to other accounts,” the DOJ stated.

“Onyema allegedly leveraged his status as a prominent business leader and airline executive while using falsified documents to commit fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We will diligently protect the integrity our banking system from being corrupted by criminals, even when they disguise themselves in a cloak of international business.”

Commenting on the indictment, Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, said: “Allen Onyema’s status as a wealthy businessman turned out to be a fraud. He corrupted the U.S. banking system, but his trail of deceit and trickery came to a skidding halt. DEA would like to thank the many law enforcement partners and the subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office who aided in making this investigation a success.”

“This case is a prime example of why IRS-CI seeks to partner and leverage its expertise in an effort to thwart those seeking to exploit our nation’s financial system,” said Thomas J. Holloman, IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Office. “With the importance of our banking system to the movement of money around the world, those attempting to use intricate schemes to commit bank fraud through the use of falsified documents and other means should know that the odds are now heavily stacked against them as law enforcement is combining its talents to protect the sanctity and integrity of the nation’s financial system.”

“Onyema setup various innocent sounding multi-million dollar asset purchases which were nothing more than alleged fronts for his scam,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama. “I’m proud to be part of a team of law enforcement agencies that come together to identify and attack criminals that attempt to profit from the exploitation of our nation’s financial systems.”

Onyema was recently celebrated in Nigeria after evacuating over 600 Nigerians from South Africa during Xenophobic attacks on African immigrants.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Aviation Minister Keyamo Takes Action Against Airport Begging and Extortion

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Festus Keyamo

In response to mounting complaints from the public regarding the pervasive issue of begging and extortion at Nigeria’s international airports, Aviation Minister Festus Keyamo has pledged swift action to address the problem.

Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Keyamo acknowledged the widespread concern and clarified that while the agencies involved in these practices are stationed at airports, they do not fall under the direct control of the Ministry of Aviation.

Nevertheless, he assured the public that collaborative efforts with other ministries, government arms, and agencies responsible for airport security are underway to find a lasting solution.

“We are all working under the coordination of the National Security Adviser,” Keyamo stated, underscoring a recent meeting convened to address the issue comprehensively.

He expressed optimism that practical steps will soon be unveiled to curb what he described as an “ugly tide” affecting airport operations.

The minister extended gratitude to Nigerians for their vigilance and assured them of ongoing efforts to rectify the situation.

He said it is important to restore the integrity of Nigeria’s international airports, crucial gateways that leave lasting impressions on visitors and travelers alike.

Keyamo’s proactive stance comes amid growing public outcry over reported instances of harassment and exploitation by unauthorized individuals within airport premises.

The initiative reflects a broader commitment to enhancing security and efficiency across Nigeria’s aviation sector, aligning with efforts to promote transparency and accountability in public service.

As the government gears up to implement new measures, including enhanced oversight and enforcement protocols, stakeholders are hopeful that these initiatives will bring about tangible improvements in airport operations, ensuring a safer and more welcoming experience for all travelers.

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Saudi Arabia Reports Over 1,300 Hajj Fatalities Amid Extreme Heat

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Saudi Arabia has reported that more than 1,300 pilgrims died during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, with temperatures reaching the highest levels seen in two decades.

The Saudi Press Agency stated that the majority of these fatalities were unregistered pilgrims who lacked authorization to participate and undertook long journeys without adequate shelter. Many of the deceased were elderly and chronically ill.

This year’s Hajj, which concluded on June 18, saw temperatures soar to approximately 52°C (126°F), the highest recorded during the pilgrimage in 20 years, according to data from the Saudi National Center for Meteorology.

Over 1.8 million worshippers participated in the five-day event, which has historically faced challenges due to large crowds and extreme weather conditions.

The fatalities underscore the growing risks posed by rising global temperatures. Similar heat-related deaths have been reported in India, while wildfires have prompted evacuations in Greece.

Parts of the United States are also grappling with a heatwave, raising concerns that increasing temperatures may render parts of the Middle East uninhabitable in the future.

Saudi authorities had earlier warned about the “significant rise in temperatures, which poses a threat to the health of pilgrims.”

The health ministry urged pilgrims to use umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. On one particularly hot day, over 2,700 cases of heat stroke were reported.

Most of the deceased pilgrims hailed from countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, India, and Pakistan, according to reports from Agence-France Presse, citing diplomats.

Historically, deaths at Hajj are not uncommon, occurring due to various reasons including stampedes and heat strokes. In 2015, a stampede led to hundreds of deaths.

A severe heat stroke incident in 1985, when the pilgrimage took place in August and temperatures reached 54°C, resulted in 1,012 deaths, according to the Annals of Saudi Medicine.

This year, the Saudi health ministry provided treatment to nearly half a million people, including 141,000 unauthorized pilgrims.

Medical services offered included open-heart surgeries, cardiac care, and air ambulance operations. Also, almost 6,500 beds and rooms were made available for those needing care.

Despite the tragic loss of life, the Saudi health minister praised the “successful execution of health management efforts” during this year’s Hajj season, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Dominance Forces Ban from YouTube and TikTok

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Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristia

Cristiano Ronaldo, the iconic Portuguese footballer known for breaking records on the field, is now facing an unusual restriction off the field as he cannot open official accounts on YouTube and TikTok.

Sources familiar with the situation reveal that the unprecedented ban stems from concerns over the extraordinary number of subscribers and views Ronaldo could attract, potentially overwhelming the platforms and disrupting their ecosystems.

Ronaldo’s immense popularity is well-documented. His presence on social media has always drawn millions of followers, and his videos consistently garner high engagement.

According to experts, allowing Ronaldo to create a YouTube channel could lead to unsustainable costs for both YouTube and other content creators on the platform.

For context, it took Mr. Beast, currently the YouTuber with the most subscribers, about 13 years to amass 200 million subscribers. Projections indicate that Ronaldo could reach this milestone in less than three years, thanks to his global fanbase and widespread appeal.

This rapid growth could strain YouTube’s infrastructure and financial resources to manage such an influx.

In 2023, Ronaldo briefly opened an official TikTok account. Within a single day, his account skyrocketed to 4 million followers and received 10 million likes, earning verification almost instantly.

The overwhelming response caused significant disruptions on TikTok, prompting the platform to ban his account and suggesting that TikTok could not handle the financial and operational challenges posed by Ronaldo’s massive viewership.

He already has more than 630 million followers on Instagram and 111.7M Followers on X.com.

The decision to prohibit Ronaldo from these platforms highlights the unique challenges posed by mega-celebrities in the digital age.

While their presence can bring enormous traffic and engagement, it also poses significant logistical and financial challenges for social media companies.

Ronaldo’s situation revealed the delicate balance platforms must maintain between leveraging star power for growth and ensuring sustainable operations for all users.

As social media continues to evolve, this case may prompt platforms to rethink how they manage the accounts of exceptionally influential figures.

In the meantime, Ronaldo remains active on other social media channels, where he continues to connect with his fans and share glimpses of his life and career. Despite the bans, his influence and popularity show no signs of waning, reaffirming his status as one of the most celebrated athletes in the world.

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