IT WASN'T ME

A major Nigerian bank has had to deny links to Turkey’s failed coup

Quartz africa
Quartz africa

One of Nigeria’s top banks has been named in the failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15.

A report by Yeni Safak, a Turkish daily, claims funds used to finance the coup, pegged at $2 billion, were kept and routed through United Bank for Africa (UBA), a leading Nigerian bank operating in 19 African countries. The paper names a John F. Campbell, a retired US general, as the supposed “organizer” of the coup, with access to the funds.

“The Nigeria branch of the United Bank of Africa (UBA) was the main base for the last six-months of money transactions for the coup plotters,” the report claims. “Campbell also managed more than $2 billion money transactions via UBA Bank in Nigeria by using CIA links to distribute among the pro-coup military personnel in Turkey,” it added. Both UBA and Campbell have vigorously denied the report’s claims.

In its response, UBA, which is controlled by well-known Nigerian tycoon Tony Elumelu, described the the report as “spurious” and said it had “no involvement with or connection to” the coup. UBA is Nigeria’s third largest bank with assets of some $14 billion on Mar. 31.

Banks in Nigeria have hit a rough patch over the past year with declining profits amid tough economic realities in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy. But regardless of the current strain, the Central Bank of Nigeria, according to reports, maintains that it is unlikely that UBA was involved in the alleged transactions given regulatory checks in place.

In the aftermath of the failed Turkish coup, authorities have launched a large-scale crackdown. Banks, hospitals and charity organizations have been forced to close while thousands of people have been arrested.

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