King of Ghana handed £350,000 in cash to British bank official who was then sacked from his job for ‘money laundering’.
A top banking executive was fired from his job and investigated by the NSA after he deposited £350,000 in cash handed to him by the King of Ghana.
Ghana International Bank bigwig Mark Arthur was summoned to Osei Tutu II’s multi-million-pound home in Henley-on-Thames and given £200,000 in sterling as well as $200,000 and told to deposit the funds.
Despite the notes having consecutive serial numbers, Mr Arthur said he felt it inappropriate to question the king and made his way to the bank, via his own home, in an Uber cab.
When Mr Arthur deposited the cash at the Ghana International Bank a money laundering alert was triggered in the City of London, costing him his job.
Mr Arthur drove to his home in New Barnet, Hertfordshire, and then took an Uber taxi to the bank’s City offices to deposit into the king’s account, he told a tribunal.
The banker was told by Osei Tutu II that the cash had been withdrawn from banks in Ghana and brought over to Britain, he said in a witness statement.
The Ghanaian ruler also instructed Mr Arthur to transfer $200,000 to an account at Standard bank in Jersey.
Following the transfers, he was suspended and sacked, after an investigation by outside accountants Grant Thornton.
Mr Arthur is claiming wrongful and unfair dismissal as well as failure to protect a whistleblower.
The sacked banker failed to adhere to anti-money laundering rules and violated security policies, according to the Ghanaian bank.
Mr Arthur, an executive director of the bank, alleged the deposit and transfer were approved by Ghana International Bank’s chief executive, Joseph Mensah.
Mr Mensah disagreed suggesting he ‘didn’t even have the authority to sanction such a huge amount’.
The Ghanaian king and ruler of the Asante is thought to be Africa’s 10th richest monarch, owning lucrative goldmine and cocoa plantations.
According to his witness statement, the banker said he was unable to follow anti-money laundering rules because of the king’s status.
He said: ‘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.’
The day after the bank accepted the cash and made the transfer to Jersey, it reported the transactions to the National Crime Agency as suspicious.
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