Air Peace CEO, Allen Onyema, Charged With Laundering $20 Million

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International businessman and philanthropist, Allen Onyema, was indicted by the U.S. government for bank fraud and money laundering. 

According to the Department of Justice, Onyema moved, “more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts”. The scheme involved falsified documents “based on the purchase of airplanes.”

As the founder and CEO of Nigeria’s Air Peace, Onyema allegedly used the money to cover his personal living expenses and high-end purchases. 

The Accusations

According to court documents, Onyema faces “27 counts of money laundering”. He also faces “three counts of bank fraud, three counts of credit application fraud and two conspiracy charges.”

The events took place between 2010 and 2018. During that time, Onyema allegedly transferred $45 million from foreign bank accounts into his U.S. bank account in Atlanta. 

According to reports, that sum included “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from his charitable organizations. He reportedly then used this money to pay for a Rolls Royce, an armored Lexus Lx570, and a Mercedes. Purchases were also made at “Prada, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s Louis Vuitton, and Apple stores in Atlanta”. 

Oneyma shared this account with his wife. 

In 2016, Onyema also allegedly used fake letters of credit and a number of “innocent sounding multi-million dollar asset purchases” to launder over $16 million

On Tuesday, a warrant was issued for Onyema’s arrest.

Air Peace CEO & Founder, Allen Onyema

Nigeria’s Air Peace: A Heroic Past

Onyema was just in the news in September for generously offering to give free flights to Nigerians living in South Africa. It was part of a partnership with the Nigerian Government in response to xenophobic attacks in South Africa against foreign nationals. 

 Onyema is also a founder and chairman of several other charitable organizations working in Nigeria. These include the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, and All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited. 

Onyema’s Continued Denials

Nigeria’s Air Peace CEO still denies claims of any wrongdoing. Speaking with reporters, he said that he is “innocent of all charges and the US government will find no dirt on me because I have never conducted business with any illegalities.”


He went on to say, “I never laundered money in my life, neither have I committed bank fraud anywhere in the world.”


However, US Attorney Byung Pak is not buying Onyema’s claims. 

Speaking in a news release, Pak said “we will diligently protect the integrity (of) our banking system from being corrupted by criminals, even when they disguise themselves in a cloak of international business.”


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