Africa-focused fintech startup Ping Express and its execs face money laundering charges in the US

Africa-focused fintech startup Ping Express and its execs face money laundering charges in the US
Photo by Franck / Unsplash

Dallas-based remittance startup Ping Express is facing money laundering charges in the United States after it facilitated the transfer of $160 million to Nigeria over a period of three years.

According to court documents cited by the U.S. Department of Justice, the company charged U.S. customers a fee to remit money to beneficiaries in Nigeria and other African countries but failed to report any suspicious transactions to the U.S. regulators over a three-year period, which is required by law.

As a consequence, Ping now faces five years of probation and a fine of up to $500,000 after pleading guilty to money laundering charges, with its CEO, Anslem Oshionebo, and COO, Opeyemi Odeyale, pleading guilty to failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, while Aleoghena Okhumale, the company's IT/ Business Development Manager, pleaded guilty to knowingly transmitting illegally-derived funds.

Both Oshionebo and Odeyale risk being sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, while Okhumale would receive a prison sentence of 42 months for failing to maintain effective anti-money laundering controls and unlicensed money transmitting, according to US legal filings.

The sentencing date has been set for December 19, 2022.