Air Peace boss denies $20 million money laundering charge

  • As U.S releases incriminating documents

The Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema has refuted the charge of money laundering and bank fraud levelled against him by the US Justice Department in Atlanta, Georgia.

The US Justice Department, Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Georgia alleges that Onyema and his chief of administration and finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha illegally moved more than $20 million through American bank accounts using false documents to procure airplanes.

According to the charges, Chief Onyema allegedly leveraged his status as a prominent business leader and airline executive while using falsified documents to commit fraud.

Commenting on the development, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, Robert J. Murphy, said, “Allen Onyema’s status as a wealthy businessman turned out to be a fraud.

“He corrupted the U.S. banking system, but his trail of deceit and trickery came to a skidding halt. DEA would like to thank the many law enforcement partners and the subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office who aided in making this investigation a success.”

The acting Special Agent in Charge, Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama, alleged that the Air Peace boss set up various innocent-sounding multi-million dollar asset purchases which were nothing more than alleged fronts for his scam.

U.S. Attorney Pak stated that  in 2010, Onyema began travelling frequently to Atlanta, where he opened several personal and business bank accounts. Between 2010 and 2018, over $44.9 million was allegedly transferred into his Atlanta-based accounts from foreign sources.

After he founded Air Peace in 2013, he travelled to the United States and purchased multiple airplanes for the airline. However, over $3 million of the funds used to purchase the aircraft allegedly came from bank accounts for Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited, and Every Child Limited, which are his firms.

Pak said, “However, the supporting documents were fake — Springfield Aviation Company LLC, which is owned by Onyema and managed by a person with no connection to the aviation business, never owned the aircraft, and the company that allegedly drafted the appraisals did not exist.

But reacting to the charges in a statement, Onyema denied ever laundering money in his life.

“I can confirm to you that all allegations are false and are in no way in line with my character as a person and as a business man whose only aim has been to build Nigeria and improve wellbeing.

“As the press statement clearly stated, these are indictments that only contains charges. I am innocent of all charges and the US government will find NO dirt on me because I have never conducted business with any illegalities.

“Rest assured that I also have my lawyers on this and these mere allegations will be refuted.

“I never laundered money in my life, neither have I committed bank fraud anywhere in the world. Every Kobo I transferred to the US for aircraft purchase went through the Central Bank of Nigeria LC regime and all were used for the same purpose. The American companies that received the funds are still in business. I never took a penny from any US bank or Nigerian bank. I am willing to defend my innocence in the US courts.”

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