Interpol Track Down 2 Nigerians in €14.7m COVID-19 Scam, €498,000 Traced to a Nigerian Bank
The INTERPOL, National Central Bureau (NCB) and the Nigeria Police Cybercrime Unit have arrested two suspects for their alleged complicity in COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procurement scam.
Force spokesman, Frank Mba, in a statement said Babatunde Adesanya aka Teddy, 50, a Master Degree holder in Cell Biology, and Akinpelu Hassan Abass, 41, the Managing Director of Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd, are members of a transnational criminal network.
He said they cloned the corporate website of ILBN Holdings BV, Holland, to transact with and defraud one Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn, a representative of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Their arrest was sequel to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) received by the Bureau from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice conveying a request from the German Government for investigations.
INTERPOL investigations revealed that the suspects and their Holland-based cohorts, Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder, specialized in identity theft, cyber-stalking, cloning of corporate websites, among other cyber crimes.
Mba said the suspects fraudulently obtained from Mr Hahn the sum of 1.5m Euro and another 880,000 Euro as advanced payment for the supply of COVID-19 PPEs valued at 14.7million Euros.
Disturbed by the non-arrival of the PPEs, Hahn visited the corporate office of ILBN Holdings only to find out that the company never did business with him.
He reported the case to the Police in Holland and this led to the arrest of Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder in Holland.
“Investigation by INTERPOL further revealed that Adesanya received 498,000 Euro from Boomstra and Maulder through his Citibank London account and transferred same to an account domiciled with a Lagos branch of a leading commercial bank in Nigeria belonging to Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd”, Mba added.
The suspects will soon be arraigned in court.
In July, the INTERPOL and Nigeria Police Cybercrime Unit arrested Samson Inegbenosun, 30; Blessed Junior, 32; and Muhammed Zakari, 36, for similar offences.
They were also allegedly involved in a fraudulent online procurement and supply of COVID-19 protective masks.