Two Nigerians go on trial for defrauding German firm of €14.7m in COVID-19 scam

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*Adesanya, Abbas

The Nigeria Police Force is set to charge two alleged fraudsters Babatunde Adesanya and Akinpelu Hassan Abass for their involvement in a COVID-19 scam and defrauding a German firm of €14.7 million.

Police spokesman, Mr. Frank Mba said in a statement yesterday that 50-year-old Adesanya who is also called Teddy and his co-accused, Abbas, 41 were arrested by men of the cyber crime unit of the NPF, Abuja, INTERPOL and National Central Bureau for the alleged crime.

He said they were apprehended following information that they were members of a sophisticated transnational criminal network which defrauded one Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn, a representative of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

According to the statement, the two men specialised in identity theft, cyber-stalking, cloning of corporate websites among others to defraud unsuspecting members of the public across the world.

The statement reads: “The Cybercrime Unit of the Nigeria Police Force, INTERPOL, National Central Bureau, Abuja has arrested two suspects for their complicity in a major multi-million Euro scam. The scam touches on procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

“The suspects, Babatunde Adesanya aka Teddy, 50 years old Master degree holder in Cell Biology and Akinpelu Hassan Abass, 41years old, the M.D Musterpoint Investment Limited who are members of a sophisticated transnational criminal network, cloned the corporate website of ILBN Holdings BV, Holland to transact with and defraud one Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn, a representative of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

“The arrest of the suspects was sequel to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) received by the Bureau from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice conveying a request from the German Government for investigations into a fraudulent transaction on the procurement of COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment linked to a Nigerian-based Bank Account.

“Discrete investigations by INTERPOL Nigeria revealed that the suspects and their Holland-based cohorts, one Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder specialized in identity theft, cyber-stalking, cloning of corporate websites amongst other cyber mischiefs to defraud unsuspecting members of the public across the world.

“In this instance, the suspects fraudulently obtained from Mr. Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn the sum of 1.5m Euro and another 880,000 Euro as advanced payment for the supply of COVID-19 PPEs valued at 14.7 million Euros.

“Disturbed by the non-arrival of the PPEs, Mr. Freiherr Fredrick Von Hahn eventually visited the corporate office of ILBN Holdings BV in Holland to inquire reasons for the delay in supplying the items only to find out that the company never did business with him and that the transaction was a scam.

“Consequently, he reported the case of fraud to the Police in Holland and this led to the arrest of Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder in Holland and investigations extended to Nigeria.

“Investigation by INTERPOL Nigeria further revealed that Babatunde Adesanya received 498,000 Euro from Eduardus Boomstra and Geradius Maulder through his Citibank London account and transferred same to an account number domiciled with a Lagos branch of a leading commercial bank in Nigeria belonging to Musterpoint Investment Nig. Ltd.

“Meanwhile, the suspects will be arraigned before a competent court of law soon.”

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