Olympic Delivery Authority loses £2.3m

Pic: Andres Rueda

A gang of fraudsters, including one from Hackney, conned the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) out of £2.3 million, a court has heard.

Eight men stood trial at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday.

The group, who are from London, Essex, Leeds and Berkshire, pretended to be working for Skanska, a contractor responsible for multiple projects for the Olympic Games this summer.

According to the prosecutor, James Dawes, the conspirators misinformed the ODA, which is in charge of planning and building venues, that Skanska’s bank account details had changed and asked the body to transacted all future payments to a new account they provided.

A forged letter was then sent to ODA purchase ledger clerk Donna Mills to confirm the change.

In May 2010, £2.3 million was paid into the fraudsters’ account, which was held in the name of ringleader Ansumana Kamara.

To cover their tracks, the fraudsters made a series of rapid transactions after the money was paid. Kamara also put money into co-conspirators’ accounts before trying to wire a cheque for £2 million to Nigeria.

Dawes said at the court hearing: “The fraudsters hoped to get more because they had big plans for this money.

“People involved in money laundering take great effort to try and disguise the money trail.”

“This case relates to what they tried to do with the £2 million to try and break the money trail. It involved taking it out in cash, but the plan was to break the trail by other means to [get] the money out of the country to Nigeria.”

He revealed that the gang previously made a failed attempt to scam Dorset County Council, which is also responsible for Olympic infrastructure, using the name of another construction company, Minerva. But, using similar means, they successfuly conned Universal Builders Supply out of £86,645.

Shamsidden Owo, 75, of Brookfield Road, Hackney and his 48-year-old son Abayomi Olowo, of Windsor Road, Harrow are both charged with four counts of money laundering. Ayodele Odukoya, 42, of Paignton Close, Romford and Shakeela Ayub, 28, of Brudenell Road, Leeds, deny two charges of money laundering. Nadeem Khan, 38, of Richmond Crescent, Slough, Mbinty Kargbo, 26, of Crofton Road, Camberwell, Sanjeev Kumar, 30, of Bell Street, Bilston and Sakiru Adewale, 57, no fixed address, each deny one charge of money laundering.

Ringleader Kamara has already appeared in court regarding this case.

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