Home / Aviation News / Updated: Air Peace reacts to $20 million fraud indictment, ‘it’s false and I’ll see them in court’
Air Peace Chairman, Barrister Allen Onyema

Updated: Air Peace reacts to $20 million fraud indictment, ‘it’s false and I’ll see them in court’

AIR PEACE Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyema has reacted to the charges of US$20 million fraud being levelled against him by United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, as false and that has never laundered any money whatsoever as every aircraft bought was transacted through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The USAO said it charged the chairman 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.

Also charged with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme is Ejiroghene Eghagha, the airline’s chief of Administration and Finance.

According to Onyema, he has never conducted business with any illegalities and he was willing to defend his innocence in the United States court

He said, “Thank you for reaching out to me. 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 business man whose only aim has been to build Nigeria and improve wellbeing.

“As the press statement clearly stated, these are indictment that only contains 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,” He said.

United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, said it has charged Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyema, chairman, CEO, and founder of Air Peace, 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.

Ejiroghene Eghagha, the airline’s chief of Administration and Finance, has also been charged with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme.

Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyema, 56, of Lagos, Nigeria, and Ejiroghene Eghagha, 37, of Lagos, Nigeria, were indicted on November 19, 2019, on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit credit application fraud, and three counts of credit application fraud.

Additionally, Onyema was charged with 27 counts of money laundering, and Eghagha was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Meanwhile in two separate statement released by Alegehlaw, firm representing Allen Onyema- Chairman – Air Peace Limited and Mrs. Ejiro Eghagha – Executive Director Air Peace Limited, affirmed their client’s innocence

The first statement read,” On behalf of Allen Onyema, we hereby state that he strongly denies and will vigorously defend himself against the allegations made against him by the US Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia in relation to purchase of Aircraft, Aircraft spares and Aircraft maintenance. None of the allegations involve any third party funds but relate to his funds utilized in the Airline business. There is no allegation that any Bank [in the United States, Nigeria or elsewhere], Company or individual suffered any financial or any loss whatsoever. The allegations are unfounded and strange to him. Allen Onyema has a track record built on honesty and integrity and will take all necessary steps to clear his good name and hard earned reputation. He looks forward to an opportunity to rebut these allegations in Court.

The second statement read: On behalf of Mrs Ejiro Eghagha, Executive Director Air Peace Limited we here by state that she strongly denies and will vigorously defend herself against the allegations made against her by the US Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia in relation to purchase of Aircraft, Aircraft spares and Aircraft maintenance for her employer. None of the allegations involve any third party funds but relate to funds belonging to her employer and utilized in the Airline business.  There is no allegation that any Bank [in the United States, Nigeria or elsewhere], Company or individual suffered any financial or any loss whatsoever. The allegations are unfounded and strange to her. Mrs Ejiro Eghagha has built her reputation as a seasoned, honest and responsible person and will take all necessary steps to clear her good name and hard earned reputation. She looks forward to an opportunity to rebut these allegations in Court.

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