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Report: UK bank registry firm allegedly schemed with ex-Gambian president

U.K.-based Formations House allegedly colluded with the ousted former President of Gambia Yahya Jammeh to set up a registry for banks that were later sold to known fraudsters, The Times reported Dec. 5 after conducting a collaborative investigation with Finance Uncovered and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

Formations House is a family-owned business that registers new companies at Companies House, the U.K.'s registry that holds the records of U.K.-based firms, directors and annual accounts.

According to the Times, Nadeem Khan, the firm's founder, met President Jammeh in the Gambia in 2013 to negotiate the deal — under which Formations House would create offshore companies and issue licenses for offshore banks resulting in approximately $546 million in registration fees for the government.

The Gambian government apparently reneged on the deal in 2015 and the registrar of companies flagged the online system Formations was using as illegal to the police. Formations' current boss Charlotte Pawar said the Gambia did not revoke the contract and that she did not provide any Gambian-related services, the newspaper reported.

According to the Times, multiple convicted fraudsters purchased banks and companies registered by Formations House.