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Alleged fraud, money laundering: EFCC declares Briton wanted

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared Mr Deepak Khilnani, a British citizen of Indian descent ‘wanted’ after he failed to appear in court to answer charges of several counts of Fraud and Money Laundering.

In suit number FHC/L/588/2022 filed in the Federal High Court, Ikoyi on October 18th, 2022 the EFCC charged Mr. Deepak Khilnani and a company in which he has interest with:- “Conspiracy to alter and file at Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja fraudulent resolution on allotment of Shares…”. The charges also included “forgery of the signatures of [names withheld] contained on a Take Over Certificate with intent that it may be acted upon as Genuine”

Khilnani had been under EFCC investigation since 2017, during which time the 63-year-old businessman tried various ways to avoid investigation and arraignment. At one time, he jumped administrative bail, left for the UK, and failed to honour EFCC’s invitations

The anti-corruption agency eventually placed the fugitive on their Watchlist at all Nigerian ports of entry. When he returned in January 2018, an unsuspecting Khilnani was promptly detained at Lagos Murtala Muhammed Airport and handed over to the EFCC.

An official confirmed that in May 2019, Mr. Khilnani deposited a British bank cheque for £4,620,000 at the EFCC Ikoyi Zonal office.

The cheque was payable to his former employers and was believed to be part refund of the money he allegedly stole. The British bank did not honour the cheque.

In December of same year, shortly after the UK cheque was dishonoured, Khilnani’s lawyers took his same former employers and the EFCC to court in a civil Suit No. FHC/L/CS/2266/2019 where they sought “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 4th Defendant (EFCC) from further Mediation, or inviting the Plaintiffs (Khilnani and anor), or questioning the Plaintiffs, or instituting any Charge against the Plaintiffs….”.

Undeterred, the EFCC defended their lawful right to investigate crime and the case was eventually struck out in February 2022 due to the court’s lack of jurisdiction. It was therefore not until October 2022, after five years of investigation and legal tussle, that the EFCC was finally able to charge Deepak Khilnani to court for financial crimes.

As he failed to answer the court summons and appear in court, the EFCC in March 2023 obtained the Court Order and declared Deepak Khilnani wanted, which was published in the Punch Newspaper of May 17th 2023 as well as on the EFCC website

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