Former Chairman of defunct Intercontinental Bank Erastus Akingbola, was found GUILTY of stealing and diverting billions of depositors’ funds to buy properties in the United Kingdom and for buying shares for himself in order to manipulate its share price in the stock market.
The court ruled that Akingbola was liable for directing the bank to buy its own shares at a loss of about 145 billion naira ($902 million), siphoning money to companies controlled by him or his family and using Intercontinental funds to buy real estate in the U.K., Judge Michael Burton said in a ruling in London Yesterday.
“Quite apart from being contrary to Nigerian law,” Akingbola’s strategy for the bank to buy its own shares “was simply wrong-headed, and was plainly a substantial contributing factor to the collapse of the bank,” Burton said.
Akingbola, who was fired by Intercontinental and then sued after he moved to London, has been back in Nigeria since 2010 defending a criminal fraud case stemming from the bank’s failure. “I have no doubt that all the staff in the bank were in awe of him and of his authority,” Justice Burton of the High Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division in London said in the ruling. While Akingbola “wasn’t a ‘details’ man,” the judge said he didn’t “accept or believe that anything major in the bank could have occurred or did occur without his knowledge.”