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Most often it’s far better to stay at home and weather the storm, then to jump ship thinking one has escaped then you get swamped where you have gone and then the hammer falls and you can’t escape no more.

One that tasted that kind of soup before was none other than the former very influential Governor of Delta State and ex-felon James Onanefe Ibori, who had escaped Nigeria to Dubai, the UAE only to get extradited to the UK to face the long arm of the law and then be dumped in Jail for several years for what he could probably have escaped in Nigeria if he had stayed put!

Facing the slammer/jail for 3 years and 6 months now, after being convicted on money laundering charges in far away London in the United Kingdom is none other than oil and gas magnate and big boss at Ontario Oil, it’s none other than Mr. Walter WAGBATSOMA!

Not only would he be wearing the designer outfits made specifically for prisoners in the UK, he his also disqualified from being a company director for 6 years!

According to the gist, funds obtained fradulently in the UK were first laundered through a Dubai account under the control of a UK national by name Oluwatoyin Allison, who was tried and convicted in absentia and sentenced to 7 years in the slammer. From Dubai, the funds were subsequently transferred to Walter’s UK account!

Oluwatoyin Allison was just one out of many that were involved in this crime of money laundering and fraud, a 13th defendant was also convicted recently too by the Leicester Crown Court.

The investigation into the case was conducted by Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit under Operation Tarlac, in which over £12m was defrauded from public bodies including hospital trusts, housing associations and councils around the UK.

Walter Wagbatsoma, 47, was originally detained on an European Arrest Warrant in June 2016 whilst travelling through Germany. He was extradited soon afterwards and charged with conspiring with others to launder the proceeds of fraud through his business interests in the UK.

Wagbatsoma, was on trial in Nigeria at the time of his arrest for his part in a £1.9 billion oil subsidy fraud for which he was later convicted and sentenced in absentia to 10-years imprisonment in January last year.

This is the third criminal trial for this operation and follows the successful conviction of 12 other defendants in the investigation which began with a complaint of fraud from Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust in September 2011, in which £1.28m was fraudulently obtained by the gang. Subsequently, a further 20 linked offences was identified resulting in losses of up to £12.6m.

After a four-year investigation, those convicted have received prison sentences in excess of 50-years and proceedings are underway to recover the gains of the conspiracy under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This is to make sure that victims can in some way be recompensed for what the Judge described as a “sophisticated and widespread fraud in its conception and execution.”

Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor said: “For a small force, this investigation shows that officers in our Economic Crime department have shown real endeavour and determination in investigating what is a huge money laundering and fraud offence.

“Operation Tarlac has now seen thirteen individuals given lengthy prison sentences for their part in an international offence, which has had a national impact on public bodies in the UK. As a force, we have achieved a significant impact against organised crime in this investigation and this shows the hard work by our officers.

“Proceedings are now underway to recover a large amount of money, and I want to personally thank partners for their support and co-operation with us in this investigation and congratulate my officers and staff on a job well done.”


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