Chief executive officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, has denied involvement in allegations of bank fraud and money laundering brought against him by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
A statement released by the DOJ on Friday night said Mr Onyema, 56, has been charged with bank fraud and money laundering for moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.
It added that the airline’s chief of administration and finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, 37, has also been charged with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme.
However, in a statement on Saturday, Onyema described the allegations as false, saying it did not represent his character as a person and as a businessman.
“I can confirm to you that all allegations are false and are in no way in line with my character as a person and as a businessman whose only aim has been to build Nigeria and improve well-being,” he said.
“As the press statement clearly stated, these are indictments that only contain charges. I am innocent of all charges and the US government will find NO dirt on me because I have never conducted business with any illegalities.
“Be rest assured that I also have my lawyers on this and these mere allegations will be refuted.
“I never laundered money in my life, neither have I committed bank fraud anywhere in the world. Every kobo I transferred to the US for aircraft purchase went through the Central Bank of Nigeria LC regime and all were used for the same purpose. The American companies that received the funds are still in business. I never took a penny from any US bank or Nigerian bank. I am willing to defend my innocence in the US courts.”