Man who laundered more than £6m by hacking into Christie’s website ordered to hand over nearly £215k

A global money launderer, who processed more than £6m by hacking into the payment system of international auction house Christie’s, has been ordered to hand over nearly £215,000 or face more prison time.

Kazeem Akinwale, 45, from Abbey Wood, was handed a confiscation order totalling £214,492.38 at the Old Bailey on Monday.

He was arrested in April 2016 after Christie’s reported an attempted diversion fraud.

In the previous month, Christie’s had informed the National Crime Agency (NCA) that hackers had spoofed an employee’s email address, trying to divert the payment for a customer invoice into a new bank account.

Christie’s realised what had happened, did not pay the money and reported the hack, which initiated the investigation into Akinwale.

Kazeem Akinwale

NCA officers established that access to the intended beneficiary account was being made from the internet address at Akinwale’s home address in Mangold Way, Abbey Wood.

During his trial, the Old Bailey heard that downloads of devices seized from Akinwale contained a “money launderer’s treasure trove”.

There was also evidence on these devices of Akinwale’s alias, Ola Gapiano – a prolific go-to money launderer for fraudsters all around the world.

The devices contained numerous references to laundering fraudulent cash, and references to bank accounts belonging to worldwide victims and also those being used to receive and transfer the money.

Akinwale was convicted of fraud and money laundering after he was found to have processed £6,087,596.37 through beneficiary bank accounts. He was jailed for nine years in February 2019.

At the confiscation hearing, the judge warned Ankinwale that he would serve a further four years in prison if he failed to pay the full sum within three months, and would still be liable for the money.

Jamie Horncastle, NCA lead officer, said: “Akinwale was a key player for criminals the world over who laundered a huge amount of money to enable them to profit from their illegal activity.

“This result shows that significant jail time is not the only consequence for money laundering; the NCA will go on to strip you of assets and cash.

“We use all the tools at our disposal to pursue serious and organised criminals and deny them their proceeds of crime.”

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