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Police Arrests, Detains Former Union Bank CEO Over Bribery Probe

By Dipo Olowookere

Reports say the former head of the London unit of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr Maurice Phido, was arrested last year as part of a bribery probe.

Bloomberg and Financial Times both said this information was revealed by people with knowledge of the case.

Citing those who begged to remain anonymous, Bloomberg said Mr Phido was detained by police in May 2017 because his name isn’t public, but was released on bail after his arrest and went back to Nigeria.

According to the reputable journal, an official from the UK National Crime Agency hinted at the case this week when he told a crowd of lawyers at a conference in Cambridge, England, about an arrest of the head of a London unit of a foreign bank, without revealing the individual’s identity or saying when the arrest took place.

Nigel Kirby, the deputy director of the NCA’s economic crime unit, said that the case is being evaluated by prosecutors after a seven-month investigation found possible corruption. The person Kirby was describing was Mr Phido, according to one of the people.

“Union Bank said it isn’t being investigated for bribery, nor has it been investigated in the past. It referred questions about the case to Mr Phido, who no longer works at the bank. Mr Phido didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment via his LinkedIn account,” Bloomberg reports.

Also, a spokeswoman for NCA didn’t immediately provide a comment, and a spokeswoman for the CPS declined to comment.

Mr Phido’s term as chief executive officer in London ended on May 26, 2017, according to the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s register of approved persons.

Union Bank Plc, which has its headquarters in Lagos, has gained increasing media coverage in recent months after former Barclays Plc CEO Bob Diamond raised his company’s stake in the lender to 49 percent. Atlas Mara Ltd., which Diamond co-founded, specializes in investing in banking operations in sub-Saharan Africa.

The lender is one of the companies trading its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Business Post reports that as at the close of business on Thursday, Union Bank traded flat on the stock exchange at N5.85k per share.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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