Berkshire

Sam Sodje: Ex-Reading footballer accused of money laundering

Sam Sodje Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Former Reading and Nigeria defender Sam Sodje denies money laundering charges

A former Premier League footballer laundered more than £30,000 linked to an international fraud, a court has heard.

Sam Sodje, 39, is alleged to have funnelled the cash through his own bank account after companies were tricked into handing over money.

The former Reading player is standing trial at the Old Bailey accused of four money laundering offences said to have been committed in November 2013.

He denies all of the charges.

Companies in Colombia, India and Italy were fooled into handing over money by fraudsters who sent emails posing as the firms' suppliers, the court was told.

Former Nigeria international Mr Sodje, who also played for clubs including Charlton Athletic, Brentford and Leeds United during his career, is alleged to have laundered proceeds from that scam.

The jury heard the funds were paid into an account in London belonging to Mr Sodje's 38-year-old brother Akpo Sodje.

Akpo Sodje, also a former professional footballer, is believed to be in Dubai and has "declined" to return to the country to be quizzed about the alleged offences, the court heard.

Julian Christopher QC, prosecuting, said there was no evidence the brothers were involved in the fraud itself.

He said: "The prosecution allegation against Sam Sodje is that he was involved, not in the trickery in the beginning itself, but in the onward transfer of the proceeds of the fraud through his own bank account, then out again as cash or bank transfers.

"So, when the money reached its ultimate destination, wherever that may be, minus a fee it would be laundered free of the link to any frauds by which it was obtained."

Mr Sodje, from Dartford, Kent, denies two counts of acquiring criminal property, converting criminal property and transferring criminal property.

The trial continues.

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