Revelations have emerged on how the fugitive businessman, Kola Aluko used on Earnshaw Associates Ltd, a shell company to allegedly defraud the government of more than USD1.6 billion.
Earnshaw Associates Ltd was reported by Bloomberg as a shell company said to have been set up by Kola Aluko have been set up in the British Virgin Islands. The identity of the company was leaked in the Panama Papers in 2016. The leak was a massive treasure trove of documents that exposed Mosac Fonseca, a law firm that helps rich and mighty around the world to create thousands of other shell companies.
The role played by Kola Aluko’s Earnshaw Associates Ltd in the alleged money laundering activities have been further unraveled after the shell company failed to pay back USD35.3 million mortgage loan it took from Banque Havilland SA, a Luxembourg based lender to purchase a luxury apartment at the 79th story of One57.
According to findings by Bloomberg, the apartment would be the costliest ever residential seizure in New York City. The 6,240-square-foot (580-square-meter) condo was bought in 2014 by a shell company listed in New York City public records as One57 79 Inc.
Banque Havilland SA is now suing to foreclose the luxury apartment after one year of default by Earnshaw Associates Ltd. The one year duration is in correlation with the entire period Kola Aluko’s assets in Nigeria have been freezed and he was declared wanted for corruption and money launderng charges in connivance with the former petroleum minister as well as one Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, an oil company they both operated during the regime of President Goodluck Jonathan.
It has also been revealed that Kola Aluko used on Earnshaw Associates Ltd to acquire other property across countries in Europe and the United States. Most of the property have been siezed by the Nigerian government in its money laundering actions.
Kola Aluko and his shell company are being represented in New York by Michael Lubben. He has refused to make any statement to the media on the matter.
The lender is going ahead to auction the property by July 19, 2017. According to Bloomberg, it is the second time in about a month that a lender filed to seize property at One57 after a mortgage default. The building is located on a Midtown strip known as Billionaires’ Row for its sky-high condo prices, still holds the record for the most expensive residential sale in New York, at $100.5 million.
Jide Omokore, Aluko’s partner in the company is facing corruption on charges back in Nigeria. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former petroleum minister has since fled to the United Kingdom where she is facing corruption charges as charged by the Serious Crime Unit.