See the full list of Nigerian In Pandora Papers: Over the last three decades, 166 offshore companies have purchased at least 233 properties worth a total of £350 million. 137 powerful Nigerians were behind these businesses.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PROPERTY FINDINGS:
At least* £179,214,832 was paid for properties.
(* For 39 properties, there is no price paid data available.)
As of June 2021, the total value of all properties purchased is at least* £352,052,249
(* For 19 properties, we were unable to calculate a current value.)
July 1991 was the first time I bought a house.
The most recent purchase was made in February 2021.
There are 39 companies or properties that are being investigated by law enforcement.
[As of July 31, 2021, the information was correct.]
The use of offshore secrecy vehicles by elite Nigerian politicians and business figures has resulted in a wave of cash flooding into London property, according to a Finance Uncovered graphic.
The interactive visualisation, which was created using data from the Pandora Papers and other similar investigations, adds to the evidence that Nigerian-owned offshore companies have been buying up a lot of property in the UK.
166 such companies have purchased at least 233 houses and apartments worth a total of £350 million in the last three decades.
According to an investigation by Finance Uncovered and Premium Times, 137 wealthy and influential Nigerians were behind these companies.
The majority of the purchases were made between 2010 and 2015, when Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was in office. Jonathan’s administration has been accused of allowing corruption to flourish. Goodluck Jonathan has always defended and denied any wrongdoing during his time in office.
The Pandora Papers is a massive data breach involving companies that specialise in forming offshore companies in places like the British Virgin Islands and Panama. Journalists from all over the world have been able to lift the corporate veil and reveal the true owners of the companies thanks to the leaked documents. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists organised and led the project (ICIJ).
Using anonymous offshore companies to buy British properties in secret is not against the law. The Pandora Papers contain no evidence that money used to buy houses or apartments in the UK is the result of corruption or other criminal activity, according to Finance Uncovered.
Many specialist advisers have routinely advised clients to invest in this way to legally avoid paying taxes.
Journalists from the BBC, The Guardian, and Finance Uncovered spent months comparing the names of company owners found in the Pandora Papers to UK Land Registry records to figure out who actually bought hundreds of properties in the UK.
Finance Uncovered then collaborated with PREMIUM TIMES to conduct a similar investigation into previous data leaks, such as the Panama Papers and the FinCEN FIles.
The result is the most comprehensive dataset on wealthy and powerful Nigerians who have secretly purchased property in the United Kingdom ever published.
List of Nigerian In Pandora Papers
Stella Oduah and her real estate holdings
Former Nigerian aviation minister Stella Oduah is among the property owners. She served in the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan from 2011 to 2014, when she resigned amid serious corruption allegations, which she denies.
Ms. Oduah was never charged with anything related to those allegations. However, she has since been charged with separate money laundering and fraud charges. Ms. Oduah, who is still a senator, has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
According to our findings, she purchased property in London in secret.
Deutsche Bank has provided us with a confidential US suspicious activity report. It claimed that in 2012, Ms Oduah’s company made a suspicious payment of nearly $72,000 to a London property broker.
A search of Land Registry records revealed that another company registered in the Seychelles had paid £5.3 million for a London townhouse a month later.
The Oduah family owned another company with the same name as the Seychelles company.
Ms Oduah, her family, or associates were involved in the purchase of the London property, but neither the former minister nor the London property broker responded.
The FinCEN Files, a leak of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with other journalists through the ICIJ, include the Deutsche Bank suspicious activity report.
It’s unclear whether the report of suspicious activity resulted in any further action.
Mohammed Bello-Koko and his properties
Mohammed Bello-Koko, 52, the finance director of the powerful Nigerian Ports Authority and reportedly its acting managing director, is another prominent figure whose London property appears in the data.
He spent most of his career in banking, rising through the ranks at Zenith Bank to become deputy general manager.
Bello-Koko and his wife were the anonymous owners of two companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, according to the Pandora Papers.
According to Land Registry searches, these companies purchased five London properties for a total of nearly £1.5 million between 2009 and 2017. One of the houses was eventually sold.
A 2017 letter from law enforcement officials in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) requested information about these BVI companies, as well as seven other companies, in relation to an investigation into financial crimes, including money laundering, according to the Pandora Papers.
The companies’ BVI registered agent, Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal), responded, saying, “To the best of our knowledge, these companies do not have any assets or bank accounts held in their name.”
When asked why the UK properties were not mentioned, Alcogal explained that it was only required to provide law enforcement officials with the information it had on hand.
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Mr Bello-Koko and his wife were contacted by Finance Uncovered and Premium Times, but they did not respond.
We have found no evidence that law enforcement inquiries in the British Virgin Islands led to further action against Mr Bello-Koko, his wife, or their property-owning companies.
“For a country that is incapable of providing electricity and decent roads without external financial support, and that relies on a combination of foreign loans and aid to supply potable water and public education, it is galling to discover such a humongous omission,” said Lanre Suraju, chair of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (Heda Resources Centre), a Nigerian anti-corruption campaign group.
The British government has promised to make the names of offshore property owners public for more than five years, under three different Conservative Party prime ministers, as part of broader efforts to end anonymous ownership. It has, however, failed to do so.Nigerian In Pandora Papers : photo Credit : Ejes Gist News
“This investigation shows it remains all too easy for those with suspicious wealth to acquire property in the UK while hiding their identities using opaque offshore companies,” said Rachel Davies Teka, Transparency International’s head of advocacy. Not only does this harm the countries from which suspect funds are diverted, but it also harms Britain’s reputation as a global trade hub.”