The operators of a Texan funds agency with ties to the UK pleaded responsible within the US to cash laundering failures after their enterprise facilitated the delivery of $160 million to Nigeria over about three years.
Anslem Oshionebo, 45, and Opeyemi Odeyale, 43, acquired 27-month jail sentences for failing to take care of efficient anti-money laundering controls and unlicensed cash transmitting, in keeping with US authorized filings. The Dallas-based firm they owned and operated — Ping Categorical US LLC — faces 5 years of probation and a nice as excessive as $500,000 after pleading responsible to an identical cost, whereas one other government acquired a 42-month sentence, the Division of Justice mentioned in a July 7 assertion.
Ping Categorical despatched prospects’ remittances to Nigeria, Kenya and different African nations. In a single three-year interval highlighted by the DoJ, the agency did not flag a single suspicious transaction to regulators regardless of processing a “vital quantity” of them, although it filed a batch of experiences later.
One buyer used the agency to maneuver funds they created from fake-romance scams, with victims together with a girl in Indiana who despatched $15,000 to a supposed roughneck oil employee within the Gulf of Mexico, and one other who despatched $6,300 to a purported Irish sea captain, in keeping with the DoJ’s assertion. One other buyer moved greater than $80,000 in a single month, excess of the corporate’s $4,500 restrict, courtroom filings present.
“Having gone via a really painful three years of authorized battle with a monstrous US DoJ, it was time to offer in and transfer on,” Odeyale mentioned in an emailed assertion that claimed the case in opposition to him had “gross violations,” whereas he cited his monitor document with different companies. “There may be a number of good I can do with the following two to 3 years than waste it in preventing an insurmountable foe.”
Oshionebo mentioned in an electronic mail that “historical past would be the finest decide” however he didn’t have the assets to proceed preventing the case.
Odeyale additionally based and managed Payzen Ltd., a London-based funds firm the place Oshionebo has additionally been a shareholder. The UK Monetary Conduct Authority granted Payzen approval to function in January 2020, two months earlier than federal prosecutors for the Northern District of Texas charged the 2 males and a variety of others with money-laundering crimes, in keeping with US and UK filings. The British enterprise wasn’t talked about within the US case and hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.
Odeyale ceased to be a controlling shareholder of Payzen in December 2020. The corporate is at present managed by Adekanmi Adedire, filings at Firms Home present. In a LinkedIn message, Adedire mentioned that Payzen is “unrelated” to Ping Categorical, which is a “completely completely different entity.”
Payzen nonetheless holds an energetic license as a funds firm, with its web site listed as ping-express.com, the FCA’s web site reveals. Ruth Wharram, a spokeswoman for the regulator in London, mentioned she was unable to touch upon a person case. The watchdog takes “all related data under consideration in our supervision of corporations,” she added.
The British financial-technology scene has come underneath scrutiny amid fears that its weak controls are enabling the motion of illicit funds all over the world. Transparency Worldwide UK has referred to as for more durable supervision after discovering that greater than one-third of UK-licensed electronic-money establishments present crimson flags.
– By Donal Griffin (Bloomberg)