The Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Group, Obinwanne Okeke, who made it into Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 List in 2016, has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for conspiracy to commit computer fraud.
Okeke was arrested by the FBI over $11 million wire fraud after an Office365 account belonging to a steel company’s CEO was hacked. The suspect was said to have conspired with several individuals to access the CEO’s computers without authorization.
According to an Affidavit seen, Marshall Ward, a Special Agent of FBI, said Okeke’s intention, alongside other conspirators, was to initiate a fraudulent transfer of funds. Ward stated that Okeke should be charged for conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
[READ MORE: Nigeria Sterling Bank H1 2019 Earnings Update]
The Backstory: It was learnt that the FBI was contacted by the representatives of Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and firm equipment, last year after they experienced a fraudulent wire transfer of $11 million through an email compromise.
The affidavit further disclosed that Unatrac’s Chief Financial Officer received a phishing email containing a web link in April 2018, purportedly to the login page of the CFO’s online email account hosted by Microsoft Office365. Upon opening the link, he was directed to a phishing website crafted to imitate the legitimate Office365 login page.
Believing the page was real, the CFO provided his login details which were captured by an unknown intruder who controlled the spoofed web page. Between April 6 and April 20, 2018, the intruder accessed the CFO’s account at least 464 times, mostly from Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in Nigeria.
The report led to an investigation which began in July 2018 after the FBI reviewed the submitted documents.
Understanding phishing: Phishing is the fraudulent act of acquiring private and sensitive information such as credit card numbers and other credentials.
What this means for Okeke: Okeke had been celebrated as one of Nigeria’s most promising entrepreneurs after he was selected among Africa’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs by Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 For 2016. His shining light has, however, been dimming as many people have been distancing themselves from him. Bella Naija, a fashion publication, which did a feature on Okeke has since deleted the featured post. It is left to be seen if other media houses will follow suit.
Also, some of his friends are reportedly deleting his pictures on their social media pages as well in order not to be caught as his associates.
There have also been some revelations regarding his past activities which the FBI investigation did not bring to the fore. According to a Twitter user, @chikenyelum, who claimed to have crossed Okeke’s path during his University days, Okeke had been involved in several suspicious activities, and he was blocked by people who felt he wanted to dupe them on Facebook.
Checks by Nairametrics revealed that Okeke’s name is still visible on Invictus Group as the Executive Chairman. The company operates several business portfolios from Oil and Gas, Real Estate, to Agriculture and others. According to Forbes, he has 28 permanent and 100 part-time employees across nine companies.
The social media accounts of Okeke, who is popularly called Invictusobi, have since been deleted. He bagged a BA Degree in International Studies & Forensic Criminology, and a Master’s Degree in International Relations and Counter-Terrorism Studies.
[READ FURTHER: NAFDAC poised to stop rejection of Nigerian food exports abroad]
Jack Dorsey’s Square set to acquire majority stake in Jay Z’s Tidal for $297 million
Jack Dorsey’s company, Square set to acquire Tidal, the streaming music service owned by Jay-Z for a $297 million deal.
Square, the mobile payments company owned by Jack Dorsey, announced on Thursday its plan to acquire a “significant majority” of Tidal, the streaming music service owned by Hip-hop music mogul, Jay-Z.
Square said it expects to pay $297 million, in a combination of cash and stock, for a stake in Tidal. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter will join Square’s board, subject to the closing of the transaction while Tidal will operate independently within Square.
Existing artist shareholders will still remain stakeholders. Other Tidal artist-owners include Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna.
In a tweet made by Jay-Z today, he highlighted that “from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers. Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey.”
He also commented that “Jack is one of the greatest minds of our times, and our many discussions about TIDAL’s endless possibilities have made me even more inspired about its future. This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board.
“This partnership will be a game-changer for many. I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!”
Jack Dorsey, who is CEO of both Square and Twitter, also commented on this deal “comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work.”
“New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. I knew Tidal was something special as soon as I experienced it, and it will continue to be the best home for music, musicians, and culture.”
Jesse Dorogusker, a Square executive will lead Tidal on an interim basis. He added that Square will offer financial tools to help Tidal’s artists collect revenue and manage their finances. “There are other tools they need to be successful and that we’re going to build for them,”.
What you should know
- Last month, Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z announced a Bitcoin fund focused on developing the cryptocurrency’s adoption in Africa and India.
- In 2017, Sprint bought a 33% stake in Tidal. This week, Jay-Z bought back those shares from T-Mobile (which acquired Sprint).
- Last month, Jay-Z announced that he would sell 50 percent of his champagne company, Armand de Brignac — better known as Ace of Spades — to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton amid a downturn in the entertainment industry caused by the pandemic that has affected some of Jay-Z’s holdings.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala resumes first day as WTO Director-General
Dr Okonjo-Iweala officially resumed duty as the DG of the WTO today, March 1, 2021.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Nigerian Finance Minister and the first woman and African to be appointed as Director-General of the World Trade Organization resumed her first day of work as WTO chief.
This was disclosed in a social media statement on Monday morning by the WTO. Okonjo-Iweala said the WTO has lots of work to do and she feels ready to start
The trade organisation said: “Welcome to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on her first day as WTO Director-General! She makes history as the first woman and first African to take up this post.”
On her first day, Dr. Iweala said she is “coming into one of the most important institutions in the world and we have a lot of work to do. I feel ready to go.”
Director-General @NOIweala & the chair of WTO fisheries subsidies talks @WillsSantiago welcomed civil society's plea for a successful conclusion to the negotiations, visiting today an ice sculpture set up in front of the WTO headquarters by the #StopFundingOverfishing coalition. pic.twitter.com/9Y5eN4Bh5y
— WTO (@wto) March 1, 2021
What you should know
- On February 15th 2021, Nigeria’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was officially appointed as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.
- The United States and former Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Joe Keshi pointed out that the only way Nigeria as a country can benefit from her appointment is by being productive.
- “She will not help you unless you are productive, she will not help you except you have something to sell, because her role as a DG of the World Trade Organization, the World Trade Organization is an organization that regulates global trade and except you have something to sell and you know put into the world market her role is to ensure that you get a fair deal and that you are not cheated in the whole process,” he said.
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