Sam Sodje: Footballer accused of ‘helping launder fraud money’

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Sam SodjeImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption The ex-Reading and Nigeria defender Sam Sodje denies fraudulent trading charges

A former Premier League footballer helped launder cash from an £80,000 international fraud, a court has heard.

Sam Sodje was allegedly involved in channelling proceeds from an email banking scam which targeted companies in Colombia, India, Italy and Abu Dhabi.

Mr Sodje, 38, is jointly charged with elder brother Efe, another former footballer, and two other men.

All four deny the charges at the Old Bailey.

Sodje, who played for a number of clubs during his career, including Reading and Charlton, and represented Nigeria at international level, is accused of laundering proceeds from the international scam.

It is alleged the group was involved in an arrangement to receive and pass on money which had been obtained by the frauds, and keeping some as a financial rewards.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sam Sodje’s brother Efe, another retired footballer, is also charged

He stands accused alongside brother Efe, a former Huddersfield Town player, as well as fellow defendants Emmanuel Ehikhamen and Andrew Oruma.

The prosecution claim victims were sent emails which they thought came from suppliers to whom they owed money, but the emails provided new, false, bank details to which the money should be sent.

Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC told jurors that money was sent to accounts belonging to Ehikhamen and Akpo Sodje, another brother of the Efe Sodje and Sam Sodje.

Akpo Sodje now lives in Dubai and has declined to return to Britain to be interviewed by detectives.

The offences allegedly took place across a month in November 2013.

There is no suggestion that the four were involved in the actual fraud, but prosecutors claim the four received money, transferred it on or withdrew it in cash knowing or suspecting it was the proceeds of crime.

Ehikhamen, 42, of south-east London, Oruma, 49, of Bexley, south London, Efe Sodje, 35, Cheadle, Greater Manchester, and Sam Sodje, 38, of Dartford, Kent, all deny money laundering.

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