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Igho Sanomi

Diezani Madueke’s ally, Igho Sanomi, named in “Paradise Papers”

Oil trader Igho Sanomi, who allegedly collaborated with Nigeria’s ex-petroleum minister Diezani Madueke in several questionable oil deals during her term in charge of the notoriously corrupt oil industry in the country, has been exposed as the owner of a mansion in London’s posh Mayfair district.

Writing about the district in Forbes magazine two years ago,  Carla Passino observed:  When Mayfair first became fashionable, men wore tricorns, women piled up hairpieces into towering poufs and sedan chairs were all the rage. Three hundred years on, tricorns, poufs and sedan chairs are museum exhibits, while the London district is still very much on the radar of affluent real estate buyers.

“Mayfair is one of Britain’s best known and loved brands, an address that is known throughout the world,” says Peter Wetherell of Mayfair luxury realtors Wetherell. “Over hundreds of years, more Dukes, Earls, Viscounts, Royalty and celebrities have lived in Mayfair than in any other area of London. They chose Mayfair because of its central location and beautiful grand buildings, and where Royalty and the aristocracy have led, captains of industry, self-made millionaires and City bankers have followed.”

So iconic is the area that it made it onto the London Monopoly Board—as its most expensive address.

The rich have lived in this area for over 300 years

The exposure of how Nigerian oil wealth made it to Mayfair, with real and not Monopoly money, comes from the “Paradise Papers” – 13m documents obtained by Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung, who then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.  Private Eye magazine has access to the papers and reveals that: Nigerian oil tycoon Igho Sanomi, chairman of his country’s National Heritage Council, used a British Virgin Islands company, Sackville Charles Holding Ltd, to acquire the freehold to a Mayfair townhouse in August 2012 for £9.6m, and another one, Charmondel Holding Europe Ltd, to buy the leasehold on a flat in Allen Mansions, a mock Georgian apartment block in Kensington, London, in March 2013 for £1.5m.

Madueke was oil minister from April 2010 to May 2015.   Court documents filed in Houston by the US Justice Department show how Taleveras, Sanomi’s company, along with oil traders Arcadia and Glencore paid $1.2 billion into Kola Aluko’s, (Madueke’s associate) account in Switzerland.

Sanomi was also alleged to have given the current oil minister Ibe Kachikwu, through his brother, Dumebi, 2bn naira ($5.56m) in bribes to “facilitate oil contracts”.  He is alleged to have demanded a refund of the money when Kachikwu was unable to deliver on the deal.

The oil trader was name-checked in the 2014 Nigerian hit “Dorobucci” by Don Jazzy, who sang:

Any man wey get big money, call am dorobucci oh eh,
Any man wey get big money, call am dorobucci oh eh,
Don Jazzy you get big money, you be dorobucci oh eh,
Igho Sanomi,  oh my God, you be dorobucci oh eh..

Don Jazzy said “Dorobucci” means “anything that is fun, cool, awesome, or fantastic.”  There’s no doubt that Sanomi is fantastically rich (or corrupt?).  Sanomi was given a “Worthy Ambassador Award” in September by the University of Jos where he read Geology and Mining.

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