Three UK-based Nigerian footballer brothers — Sam, Efe and Akpo Sodje — have been accused of helping to launder proceeds from fraud to the tune of £80,000 in four different countries.
They were allegedly involved in laundering the money gotten from a scam which targeted firms in Colombia, India, Italy and Abu Dhabi, Daily Mail reports.
Sam and Efe, who played for Nigeria at international level, would be on trial this weekend with two other Nigerians – Emmanuel Ehikhamen and Andrew Oruma.
Akpo, on the other hand, has reportedly refused to return for interrogation from Dubai where he lives.
They were reportedly linked to the said crime in 2013 although Julian Christopher, the prosecutor, said they were not involved in the actual fraud.
Christopher said the evidence against them came from the way the money was passed between bank accounts as well as text and WhatsApp messages.
“In November 2013 a number of companies around the world – in Colombia, India, Italy and Abu Dhabi – were the victims of fraud,” he said.
“They were sent emails which they thought came from their suppliers to whom they owed money, but the emails provided new, false, bank details to which the money should apparently be sent.
“There were two bank accounts to which these companies were tricked into sending money. One belonged to the first defendant, Emmanuel Ehikhamen, the other to a man named Akpo Sodje, brother of the defendants Efe Sodje and Sam Sodje.
“The prosecution allege that all four of them and also the defendant Andrew Oruma were involved in an arrangement to facilitate the receiving and onward transmission of money which had been obtained by these frauds, keeping some as financial rewards for their assistance.”
Christopher added that the issue being considered in the trial is “whether the defendants received money, transferred it on or withdrew it in cash knowing or suspecting it was the proceeds of crime”.