- Otumfuor Osei Tutu II is reported to have deposited an amount of 350,000 pounds into a UK bank sometime last year
- The transaction which was done through an executive of the bank, Mark Arthur has triggered money laundering alert
- Mark Arthur is currently seeking redress at a tribunal after being dismissed from the bank for his role in the transaction.
The Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II has been fingered in a possible money laundering scandal in the United Kingdom (UK), media reports suggest.
The Asantehene is reported to have in August, 2016 deposited an amount of 350, 000 pounds sterling into a bank in the UK through, Mark Arthur, a dual citizen of the UK and Ghana and this transaction has been flagged leading to the sacking of Mr Arthur from his job.
According to a report in The Telegraph, Mr Arthur Otumfuor summoned Mr Arthur, the second most senior executive at Ghana International Bank to his 'multimillion-pound residence in Henley-on-Thames and handed him a bag containing almost £200,000 in sterling as well as $200,000 in US currency with consecutive serial numbers'.
Mr Arthur, said to be an Ashanti and hence Otumfuor's direct subject, 'drove to his own home with the cash and then took it in an Uber taxi to the bank’s City offices for deposit in the king’s account'.
He also swiftly carried out the King's orders to to move $200,000 to an account at Standard bank in Jersey.
Mr Arthur's dealings with the Asantehene led to his suspension and subsequent sacking after an investigation by outside accountants Grant Thornton which found him guilty of failing to follow anti-money laundering rules and also violating security policies that it was only insured to carry cash by armoured car up to a maximum of £250,000.
But Mr Arthur who is alleging that the deposit and transfer were approved by the bank's chief executive, Joseph Mensah has however sued for wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and failure to protect a whistleblower.
It was during his testimony at the hearing that he revealed he indeed took the said amount from the Asantehene to deposit on his behalf without much reference to the anti-money laundering rules because of his status.
“Without a policy to follow and did without wishing to offend a sovereign of my country, I found myself in a very difficult situation and one I had never been in before. I could not carry out the necessary due diligence by talking to His Majesty so decided it would be best to verify the deposits at the bank and to speak directly to Mr Mensah rather than disrespect His Majesty in a face-to-face meeting", Mr Arthur reportedly told the employment tribunal.
Mr Arthur's lawyers, the report adds, are also arguing that his handling of the deposit was in line with the way the bank previously handled Otumfuor Osei Tutu II’s account and that this was not the first time large amounts deposited in the account which's sources were not properly recorded.
But one of the bank's representatives in the case, Colin Millar, has rejected suggestions that the £350,000 holdall was acceptable given the King’s history with the bank.
He reportedly told the tribunal that the deposit and swift transfer offshore was a “classic” warning sign of money laundering.
“If you want to hide the sources of funds that are from a disreputable source then you move them around until it reaches the point where the authorities can’t trace them back to their original source. That’s a way of hiding the proceeds of crime”, he was quoted by the report as saying.
The hearing has been adjourned and no matter the outcome, Otumfuor's image would not be the same, whether at home of abroad.
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