A tip from Christie’s auction house led to the conviction of a London-based Nigerian man who British authorities described as a “go-to money launderer for fraudsters all around the world.”
Kazeem Akinwale aka Ola Gapiano, was found guilty of fraud and possessing criminal property after he tried to fool a client of the auction house, the U.K.’s National Crime Agency said.
The 43-year-old controlled bank accounts that processed more than £6 million pounds and took commissions of about £73,000, the agency said.
In March 2016, authorities received a tip from Christie’s that hackers had tried to imitate an employee’s email address to divert a customer’s payment. The account was traced to Akinwale’s east London home a month later, where he was arrested.
“Akinwale was a key player for organized criminals the world over,” Jamie Horncastle, an NCA officer, said in a press release. “Every serious and organized crime group relies on cash flow, so taking Akinwale out of action will disrupt very many criminal networks.”
A laptop and two cellphones containing references to the laundering of fraudulent cash were seized from his home.