In News by Oluwaseun Samuel on the 25th, September, 2020

Agency Owned By High Nigerian Lawyer Flagged In U.S. For Shifting Hundreds of thousands Of Overseas

Firm Owned By Top Nigerian Lawyer Flagged In U.S. For Moving Millions Of Dollars Abroad

A regulation agency owned by Rickey Tarfa, a senior lawyer dealing with trial over bribery allegations in Nigeria, has appeared in leaked suspicious exercise stories filed with america’ Monetary Crimes Enforcement Community (FinCEN).

The SAR filed on Rickey Tarfa & Co confirmed 427 suspicious wire transfers, totalling $2,261,181.22, to a number of accounts throughout the area of six months in 2013.

The revelation got here to mild as a part of a worldwide investigation, in any other case referred to as #FinCENFiles, by the Worldwide Centre for Investigative Journalists, BuzzFeed, and 108 media companions, together with PREMIUM TIMES, in 88 international locations.

The leaked information are a big quantity of confidential monetary stories regarding the transaction actions of world leaders, terrorists, drug sellers and cash launderers and filed by banks and different monetary establishments to the US Authorities as required by the Financial institution Secrecy Act.

The investigation concerned 16-month collaborative work involving greater than 400 journalists, together with these from PREMIUM TIMES.

These flagged transfers involving Mr Tarfa’s agency had been made by his agency’s EcoBank Nigeria Plc account between Might and November 2013.

AFA Press, a UK-based communications company, obtained the sum of $four,359.00 into its Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Company (HSBC) checking account throughout this era from Mr Tarfa’s regulation agency.

AFA Press describes itself as a supplier of editorial content material and repair for impartial media in print and digital codecs throughout the globe. It’s unclear what providers the corporate offered to Mr Tarfa’s firm, though the regulation agency didn’t listing media or communication-related actions as a part of its providers.

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AFA Press is owned and led by Alberto Llaryora, a 51-year previous Argentine. He owns seven different media-related corporations within the UK.

HSBC financial institution is a correspondent buyer of HSBC North America Holdings, Inc, thus the justification for the curiosity of america’ authorities within the transaction.

A SAR was filed due to the financial institution’s incapacity to find out the legitimacy of the monetary transactions and suspicion of cash laundering.

In response to the submitting, the transactions had no obvious financial, enterprise, or lawful goal.

Additionally, the wire transfers concerned quantities lower than any domestically mandated transaction reporting necessities, the SAR mentioned.


“This SAR is being filed as a result of the continuation of exercise for a buyer of HSBC BANK PLC-LONDON, AFA PRESS LTD, who obtained one (1) wire switch totalling $four,359.00 on 5/31/2013 from RICKEY TARFA AND COMPANY, a shopper of ECOBANK NIGERIA PLC, and who between 05/31/2013 and 11/14/2013 originated 427 wire transfers totalling $2,261,181.22 to a number of counterparties which gave the impression to be structured. The exercise for AFA PRESS LTD and RICKEY TARFA AND COMPANY was reviewed from 05/31/2013 to 11/18/2013,”
revealed the SAR.

Nothing got here of the efforts to get a remark from the regulation agency as its officers neither answered phone calls nor textual content messages.

Additionally, enquiries despatched by way of the e-mail tackle offered on its web site weren’t acknowledged or replied to as of the time of submitting this report.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted him on Thursday, Mr Tarfa denied information of any transactions flagged by the U.S. authorities. “I’m not conscious,” he mentioned.

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Embattled Principal


The principal of the agency, Mr Tarfa is at the moment dealing with a 26-count amended cost for refusal to declare his property, misinforming an officer of the EFCC and providing gratification to a public official.

He was first arraigned at a Lagos State Excessive Court docket, Igbosere, on February 16, 2016, on a two-count cost of obstruction of justice and trying to pervert the course of justice.

He was accused of willfully obstructing two officers of the EFCC, Moses Awolusi and Sanusi Mohammed, from arresting Gnanhooue Sourou and Nazaire Odeste, who had been suspected to have dedicated financial and monetary crimes in contravention of Part 38(2) (a) of the EFCC Institution Act of 2004.

Additionally, Mr Tarfa was alleged to have engaged in improper communication with Justice Muhammed Yunusa between Might 11 and June 25, 2015, whereas the case between the EFCC and two others was pending earlier than the choose.

Afterwards, his prices had been amended when the EFCC discovered that he paid about N5.three million in a number of tranches into Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa’s account and N800,000 in three tranches into Justice Yunusa’s account.

Justices Nganjiwa and Yunusa are Federal Excessive Court docket Judges in Bayelsa and Lagos states respectively.

The anti-graft company additional accused Mr Tarfa of age falsification.

Nonetheless, the trial of the senior lawyer has been stalled for various causes. At a time, he travelled overseas for medical remedy. At different instances, it was owing to the absence of the witnesses and even the prosecuting counsel.

***

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Supply: PREMIUM TIMES

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