Nelson Sakaguchi of Brazil bought “a fake airport” from Emmanuel Nwude for $242 million. This is considered to be the biggest scam in Nigerian history.
The crime that Emmanuel Nwude did is still considered to be one of the biggest bank scams ever. The crime also led to the rise of a type of computer fraud called the 419 scam.
Emmanuel Nwude pulled off one of the biggest scams in history before online fraud became a worldwide problem. Between 1995 and 1998, he was able to steal $242 million from the Director of Brazil’s Banco Noroeste in Sao Paulo. He got $191 million in cash and the rest in unpaid interest.
He did the third-largest banking fraud in history, after Qusay Hussein’s theft of the Iraqi Central Bank and Nick Leeson’s trading losses at Barings Bank.
Nwude had access to certain links, information, and documents due to his job as a banker and former director of Union Bank of Nigeria.
So, it was easy for Nwude to pretend to be Paul Ogwuma, the then-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and get Mr. Sakaguchi to invest $10 million in a new airport in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Abuja.
Because the commission was so good, Sakaguchi agreed to pay $191 million in cash and the rest in the form of interest.
When the Spanish Banco Santander tried to buy Banco Noroeste Brazil in August 1997, it had been more than three years since the scam.
During a joint board meeting, a representative from Santander asked Noroeste why half of its capital and two-fifths of its total worth were not being watched in the Cayman Islands.
Brazil, the Britian, Nigeria, Switzerland, and the US all did criminal investigations. Before the Banco Noroeste bank failed in 2001, its owners paid off $242 million in debts while the bank was being sold.
Olusegun Obasanjo, who used to be president, set up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2002, while the investigation into the global fraud was still going on.
Emmanuel Nwude and his group were detained in February 2004 and charged in the Abuja High Court on 15 counts of bribery and 86 counts of “fraudulently obtaining advance fees” in connection with the case.
They first entered a not guilty plea, nevertheless. However, the Abuja High Court Judge, Lawal Gumi, warned them against bribing any court employees, therefore the court was strict.
Emmanuel Nwude was also accused of attempting to bribe Nuhu Ribadu, the former chairman of the EFCC, with $75,000 in cash and of abducting a prosecution witness.
After Sakaguchi’s testimony, Emmanuel Nwude entered a guilty plea in the hopes of earning a lighter punishment. Instead, he received a total term of 29 years in jail, with five consecutive sentences of five years each, for a total of 25 years.
A $10 million fine was issued to be paid to the Nigerian Federal Government, and all of Nwude’s assets were seized and given back to the victim. It was the EFCC’s first significant conviction. Nwude was let out of jail in 2006.
Nwude sued to reclaim his seized property in 2006 after being released from jail on the grounds that part of the assets had been obtained before the crime for which they had been seized.
Later, on August 19, 2016, Emmanuel Nwude was detained once more on a 27-count accusation that included murder, attempted murder, and terrorism.
Nwude is currently detained at the imaginatively titled Arkham Prison in Gotham City, Anambra State, awaiting his murder trial.