Prodeco International Limited, a company in which former Nigeria’s vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has an interest, was flagged for suspicious transactions totalling $2.3 million in 2011, suspicious activities report filed with the United States’ Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), have shown.
FinCEN files, a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, BuzzFeed and 108 media partners across the world, including PREMIUM TIMES, are a large volume of leaked confidential financial reports relating to the transaction activities of world leaders, terrorists, drug dealers and money launderers.
The files include a large number of suspicious activity reports (SARs), filed by banks and other financial institutions to the US Government as required by the Bank Secrecy Act., with the total amount in suspicious transactions reported being $2 trillion ($2,099584,477,415.49).
In the data reviewed by PREMIUM TIMES, it is reported that Prodeco made a total of five wire-transfer transactions, totalling $2,317,793.68 between November 26, 2010 and January 18, 2011. Atiku had in September 2017 disclosed his ownership of Prodeco.
The company, affiliated with Intels Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s largest logistics company co-founded by Atiku and Italian Gabrielle Volpi, operates within the oil and gas industry and is headquartered in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The flagged funds were wired by Prodeco from an account at Standard Chartered Bank, United Kingdom. They were flagged by the Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (DBTCA) based in New York, United States.
The beneficiary banks involved in the transactions were a Lagos branch of Bank PHB Plc, now known as Keystone Bank Limited; Deutsche bank AG, a German multinational investment bank; Ecobank Nigeria Plc; and Skye Bank Plc, now known as Polaris Bank.
The recipients of the funds were identified as Coltyn Enterprises Nigeria Ltd, Drake and Sean Limited, Mbonny Technical Services Limited, Melchers Trading Gmbh, and Unicorn Integrated Marine.
Further analysis of the activities identified an unusual variation in transaction amounts ranging from $11,345.51 to $1,300,000, the filing said.
“On 11/26/2010, Prodeco International Limited sent one (1) payment in the amount of $1,300,000 to Unicorn Integrated Marine Engineering Ltd. On 12/15/2010, Prodeco International Limited sent one (1) payment in the amount of $769,372.53 to Drake and Sean Limited. On 12/14/2010, Prodeco International Limited sent one (1) payment in the amount of $112,557.75 to Mbonny Technical Services Limited,” the SAR said.
The SAR said the purpose of the transactions could not be ascertained because they contained “sketchy or incoherent details”.
The address provided for some of the companies did not match the transaction details. Hence, DBTCA was unable to determine whether the listed entities are involved in the transactions, according to the SAR.
For instance, it said that the address for Unicorn Integrated Marine Engineering Ltd was not listed in the transaction details.
“No information was found for Unicorn Integrated Marine Engineering Ltd. Also, the address for Drake and Sean Limited was not listed in the transaction details. The address for Mbonny Technical Services Limited was not listed in the transaction details.”
According to the SAR, when DBTCA asked one of the banks, Oceanic Bank International, Nigeria, for information regarding the business purpose of one of the transactions in the amount of $1,300,000 involving its customer Unicorn and PRODECO, it claimed it was for Sublease of rights and interests for future rent over 20 hectares of land at Onne Oil & Gas Free Zone. PREMIUM TIMES is unable to determine if Unicorn has such a property in Onne.
While PREMIUM TIMES can confirm that all the beneficiary firms are registered in Nigeria, only Mbonny Technical Services has an online presence with a defined service rendered.
Editor’s Note: This story was published by Premium Times