Ex-Afren execs found guilty of fraud in $300m business deal with Nigerian oil firm

Two former top executives of energy firm, Afren, were on Wednesday convicted after they were found guilty of money laundering offences in the United Kingdom. Osman Shahenshah and Shahid Ullah were found guilty of fraud and money laundering offences from which prosecutors said they personally received more than $17 million in a case involving Oriental Energy, founded by Nigerian billionaire oil magnate Muhammadu Indimi.

Prosecutors said Mr Shahenshah, 55, the former chief executive of Afren and Mr Ullah, 58, the oil company’s Texas-based former chief operating officer, laundered $45 million by deceiving the Afren Board into agreeing a $300 million business deal. Details from the U.K Serious Fraud Office (SFO) showed that Messrs Shahenshah and Ullah created a side deal with one of Afren’s Nigerian oil partners, Oriental Energy, that would allow them to benefit from payments Afren would make.

The men recommended a transaction to the Afren Board, who then approved payments of hundreds of millions of dollars without knowing that Messrs Shahenshah and Ullah stood to personally benefit. The SFO said that the side deal with Oriental led to 15 per cent of the $300 million being paid out to a Caribbean shell company controlled by the defendants. The men then used the $45 million to purchase luxury properties in Mustique and the British Virgin Islands.

Source: Premium Times

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