A warrant of arrest has been issued against Allen Onyema of Air Peace Limited for alleged money laundering and bank fraud in the United States, court documents showed.

The warrant was signed by Justin Anand, an American magistrate of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Georgia, on November 19. The warrant authorised U.S. Marshals Service to take Onyema into custody.

The U.S. and Nigeria have a mutual legal assistance policy that allows both countries to extradite suspects facing criminal charges. Several Nigerians have been sent to the U.S. to stand trial for alleged fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) regularly arrests suspects wanted by U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation for fraud or other criminal allegations.

It was unclear whether the U.S. authorities have sought an extradition of Onyema as part of efforts to execute warrant of arrest issued against him.

Onyema was indicted on Friday for allegedly laundering suspicious funds in excess of $20 million dollars in the U.S. Ejiroghene Eghagha, Air Peace’s head of finance and administration, was also indicted and an arrest warrant issued equally against him.

The two Nigerian business executives were accused of conniving to commit money laundering and bank fraud for several years. The U.S. Department of Justice made the allegations public on Friday, but did not mention that an arrest warrant had been issued for Messrs Onyema and Eghagha.

Details of the arrest obtained by newsmen said Onyema used several non-commercial entities he registered to conduct commercial businesses in the United States.

The allegations also included how Onyema facilitated fraudulent letters of credit to American banks to procure aircraft, equipment and luxury goods.

About $14 million traced to his bank accounts in the U.S. and Canada have been frozen as federal authorities pursue a final forfeiture order.

The seizure came after extensive investigation of how Onyema allegedly conducted the fraud between 2010 and 2018.

A statement by their attorney has dismissed the charges as “strange” and “unfounded.”

The statement said both Messrs Onyema and Eghagha have built a reputation of honesty and integrity and will look forward to fighting the charges against them in court.

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