Ghanaian Ellias Preko, Ibori’s money launderer fined N3.2billion by UK court

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Ellias Preko, a Ghanaian and former Goldman Sachs banker, who helped James Ibori, former governor of Delta hide a fortune in offshore accounts has been ordered by a UK court to pay back £7.3m(N3.2 billion) to the British treasury or face 10 years more in jail.

The order was slammed on Preko on Monday by Judge David Tomlison, following a confiscation hearing. Preko has three months to repay the money or he will return to jail. He was jailed for four and a half years back in 2013 for his role in the scheme.

Preko, a Harvard graduate, who is now 60 years old was believed to have abused his ‘gold-plated credentials’ to launder at least £3m plundered by Ibori, from Delta state treasury.

Ibori, who governed Delta between 1999 and 2007 was estimated to have pocketed up to £160 million from government treasuries, depriving the state’s poor of the cash.

Preko, who represented himself, told the court in a previous hearing much of the cash had been spent on election campaigning back in his native Ghana.

He said he had run as candidate for the centre-right NPP party back in the mid-2000s.

Preko explained that Ghana is predominantly a cash based society and that few receipts exist for his campaign spending.

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From the court records, it appeared that Preko had also been close to a former governor of Kogi, late Prince Abubakar Audu, who he claimed took interest in him because he was also a former banker.

Ibori, now 60, used the laundered money to buy a fleet of luxury motors and blew millions on property in Britain, South Africa and Houston, Texas.

He was in the process of negotiating a purchase on a £12.5m private jet when Scotland Yard detectives caught up with him.

At his trial, he admitted seven counts of fraud and money laundering.

Preko, his siphoning-in-chief, of St Johns Wood Road, St Johns Wood, northwest London, denied charges but was convicted of money laundering.

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