Oluwaseyi Tinubu, the son of Nigeria’s President-Elect, is embroiled in a $11 million London property scandal, 9News Nigeria reports.
According to previously unreported UK company documents, the son of Nigeria’s president-elect purchased a $11 million London mansion that his predecessor’s government was attempting to seize as part of an investigation into one of the biggest corruption scandals in the West African country’s history.
There is no evidence that President-elect Bola Tinubu was personally involved in the 2017 purchase of the UK property. Tinubu, who will take over as President this month, has long been questioned about the source of his family’s riches, notably throughout the recent election campaign, when local and international media probed him and his representatives on the issue.
According to his campaign, he made his fortune before entering politics by inheriting real estate, investing well, and working as an accountant at Deloitte LLP and an executive at Mobil Oil’s Nigerian division in the 1980s and early 1990s. Tinubu highlighted Warren Buffett as an example he followed to become wealthy in an interview with the BBC in the run-up to the election.
According to corporate records obtained by Bloomberg, Tinubu’s 37-year-old son Oluwaseyi is the main stakeholder of Aranda Overseas Corp., an offshore firm that paid Deutsche Bank £9 million ($10.8 million) for the property in north London in late 2017. The exclusive three-story property in St. John’s Wood, a neighborhood popular with American bankers, with an eight-car driveway, two gardens, electric gates, and a gym.
The spokesman for Bola Tinubu and Oluwaseyi Tinubu did not respond to emails, phone calls, or text messages requesting comment. Aranda’s agent in the UK, a British lawyer, refuses to comment, citing confidentiality regulations.
At the time of the acquisition, Nigeria’s government was attempting to apprehend the house’s former owner, accusing him of fleeing the country despite owing the country more than $1.5 billion in oil trade debt. The state was also aiming to seize expensive real estate and other assets allegedly obtained by the businessman — Kolawole Aluko — with criminal proceeds. Aluko denies any charges of impropriety and claims that a recent court decision acquitting a former business partner cleared his name. Nigeria’s anti-graft agency is contesting the verdict.
Tinubu, 71, was elected as the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress in February and is set to succeed his political buddy Buhari on May 29. He was a prominent figure in the coalition of opposition parties that elected the current president in 2015.
While Buhari was elected on a promise to combat widespread corruption, the country’s ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index has fallen over the last eight years.