Former Super Eagles star Efe Sodje with brothers Bright, Stephen jailed for stealing

Former Super Eagles star Efe Sodje with brothers Bright, Stephen jailed for stealing

- The Sodje brothers were handed respective jail sentences for stealing offence in the UK

- The former Super Eagles stars with two of his brothers diverted charity funds for personal use

- Efe featured for the Super Eagles at the 2000 Nations Cup and the 2002 World Cup

Ex-Super Eagles star Efe Sodje along with his brothers Stephen and Bright have been handed prison sentences for fraud last year, according to reports.

The three siblings were involved in money laundry after more than £60,000 meant for the Sodje Sports Foundation was siphoned, a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation discovered.

The 2000 Nations Cup and 2002 World Cup star with Nigeria was jailed in September 2017 for 18 months while Bright bagged 21 months and Stephen was imprisoned for two years and six months - at the Central Criminal Court in relation to the fraud.

A judge at the court on Monday, January 21, lifted the ban on publication of the outcome of the trial, following the completion of a number of linked legal proceedings.

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The three brothers used their influence in football and business communities to secure support for their foundation and to give it an appearance of legitimacy.

They set up the foundation in 2009 with the aim of helping children living in poverty in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

The Sodje's had defrauded donors of a least £63,000 and there has been no record of cash donations made at any event.

It is understood that the NCA officers were unable to put an exact figure on how much the Sodje's profited from the monies embezzled.

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Though the NCA officers got to know that some donations usually ended up in personal bank accounts of family members.

The Sodje's asked that donations be paid to their personal accounts and it was discovered £34,000 was collected in this way

NCA deputy director Chris Farrimond said: "Bright, Efe and Stephen Sodje promoted themselves as generous, community-minded, figures when they were knowingly defrauding people who thought they were helping deprived children in Nigeria.

"NCA financial investigators built a detailed picture of the movement of money in and out of the foundation and showed beyond doubt that for most of the foundation's existence there was no charitable purpose."

Sam Sodje was also charged with fraudulent business in relation to the Sodje Sports Foundation but was cleared following last year.

He was also cleared of two charges of money laundering relating to a scam which saw companies in Columbia, Italy and India defrauded of thousands of pounds they thought was being sent to suppliers.

The former Premier League star is still wanted in connection with the fraud where he fled to the United Kingdom during the investigation and a European Arrest Warrant has now been issued.

Meanwhile, YEN.com.gh had earlier reported that Premier League side Crystal Palace have reportedly shown interest in signing Nigerian midfielder John Mikel Obi until the end of the season.

The Super Eagles captain ran out of contract with the Chinese Super League side this month after the Tianjin Tigers failed to extend his stay at the club.

Source: Yen.com.gh

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