A London estate agent who appeared on the BBC’s Homes under the Hammer has been named in an investigation into alleged corruption by a former Nigerian oil minister known as ‘The Madam’.
Court documents filed in the US allege King’s Cross estate agency, Daniel Ford, helped to buy millions of pounds worth of properties for Diezani Alison-Madueke in London.
Daniel Ford’s sole director is Adeyemi Edun, UK company records show. He has been seen on the TV series offering advice on buying and renovating flats.
Documents show that Mr. Edun has acted for the controversial Mrs. Alison-Madueke who was Nigeria’s oil minister from 2010 to 2015, the first female president of the OPEC oil cartel and a former executive for Shell in Nigeria.
The Cambridge-educated politician has faced investigations in the UK, US and Nigeria for allegedly receiving lucrative kickbacks for oil deals she sanctioned as a minister.
In 2015 it was reported she was arrested in the UK on suspicion of bribery and money laundering offences and released on conditional police bail, pending further investigation.
Her lawyer, who was named at a court hearing in late September, did not respond for comment. She has previously denied allegations of any wrongdoing.
The Nigerian government is trying to recover billions of pounds it believes were looted from the country during the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan between 2010 and 2015.
As part of these efforts, civil asset recovery proceedings have been separately filed in the UK, US and Nigerian courts.
While the UK proceedings have been withheld from the public, the U.S. court papers say Daniel Ford ‘assisted in the purchase’ of three London properties linked to the probe, an investigation by Finance Uncovered and The Mail on Sunday has found.
There is no suggestion in the documents that Daniel Ford or Mr. Edun committed money laundering or that they were aware of such activities.
The papers filed in Texas in July allege the property spree in London formed part of a series of disguised payments to Mrs. Alison-Madueke in 2011.
According to the documents, three Nigerian businessmen bought three homes near Regent’s Park over a six-day period in March that year for £8.3million.
The US investigators allege the properties were ‘provided’ to 56-year-old Mrs. Alison-Madueke ‘for the corrupt purpose of inducing her to use her influence within the Ministry of Petroleum Resources… to direct the award of business opportunities’.
The businessmen’s companies all received oil deals, the papers say. They are also alleged to have funded a lavish lifestyle for Alison-Madueke.
Between December 2012 and July 2014, one of them allegedly paid a chauffeur company nearly £400,000 for her use.
The US investigators allege the properties were bought using offshore companies in the Seychelles and the British Virgin Islands. Two of the properties were frozen by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service last year.
A separate court application filed by Nigerian investigators in Abuja in August this year claims ‘one Adeyemi Edun’ received more than $5.5 million in cash from Alison-Madueke to be used to buy properties for her in Lagos in May 2011.
The Nigerian investigators allege money was moved through two bank accounts in Nigeria before being transferred to buy upmarket apartments in Lagos.
Contacted by telephone, Mr. Edun said he could not discuss the Alison-Madueke matter because ‘it was subject to ongoing investigation’. He added: ‘Everything is done within the ambit of regulation, that I can say.’
When asked about the Nigerian court papers, Mr. Edun said: ‘You have to be very sure the name you are referring to is actually mine, because it is common in a country of 180 million people.’
The Nigerian filings show that a Daniel Ford email address was used to issue payment instructions for the Lagos apartments.
They also include Mr. Edun’s Nigerian passport and a UK mobile number that he used to answer our call.
According to his social media accounts and land registry documents, Mr. Edun, 46, appears to have links to other Nigerian politicians and has attended dinners for the country’s expats at luxury hotels in London.
Former Arsenal and Nigeria football star, Nwankwo Kanu, has praised his work, reportedly saying in 2012 that Daniel Ford ‘helped grow my London property investment despite my tight schedule’.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing or any further link to the company by Kanu.
Estate agencies are required by law to conduct enhanced due diligence on politically exposed persons, or PEPs, to establish the source of their proposed funds used to buy UK property, and to monitor them on an ongoing basis.
It is an offence not to report suspicion of money laundering to the National Crime Agency.
When asked to detail what checks Daniel Ford carried out on the properties allegedly bought for Mrs. Alison-Madueke in London, Mr. Edun said he was under legal advice not to comment.