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General News of Tuesday, 2 May 2023


Seyi Tinubu linked to $11m London mansion once investigated by the EFCC - Report

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A firm belonging to Oluwaseyi Tinubu reportedly owns an $11 million London mansion that the Buhari administration was seeking to confiscate as part of a probe into one of Nigeria's biggest corruption scandals according to Bloomberg.

The private three-floor residence in St. John’s Wood — a district favored by American bankers — is equipped with an eight-car driveway, two gardens, electric gates and a gym.

Bloomberg said that it is unsure of president-elect Bola Tinubu's involvement in the acquisition of the UK property in 2017, however, the news platform said that President Muhammadu Buhari visited him there in August 2021, nearly four years after the purchase took place.

The corporate documents seen by Bloomberg show for the first time that 37-year-old son Oluwaseyi is the main shareholder of Aranda Overseas Corp., an offshore company that paid £9 million ($10.8 million) to Deutsche Bank for the property in north London in late 2017.

This report comes as Tinubu is preparing to be inaugurated as President on May 29.

Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor has long been questioned about the source of his family’s wealth, including throughout the recent election campaign, when he and his representatives were pressed about it by local and international media.

He and his campaign have said he made his fortune before going into politics by inheriting real estate, investing well and working as an accountant at Deloitte LLP and an executive at the Nigerian subsidiary of Mobil Oil in the 1980s and early 1990s. In an interview with the BBC in the run-up to the election, Tinubu cited Warren Buffett as an example he followed to become rich, Bloomberg reports.

Bola Tinubu’s spokesman and Oluwaseyi Tinubu did not respond to emails, phone calls and text messages seeking comment. A British lawyer listed as Aranda’s agent in the UK declined to comment citing confidentiality rules.

At the time of the purchase, the federal government was seeking to arrest the house’s former owner, accusing him of going on the run while owing the country an oil-trading debt worth more than $1.5 billion.

The Buhari-led administration was also attempting to confiscate the upscale real estate and other assets it suspected had been acquired by the businessman — Kolawole Aluko — with the profits of crime.

Aluko denies all allegations of wrongdoing and says a court judgment earlier this year acquitting a former business partner has cleared his name. That ruling is being challenged by the EFCC.