London: A British judge jailed two men on Wednesday for a scheme to defraud the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) of 2.3 million pounds (USD 3.7 million).
Abayomi Olowo, 48, was jailed for four and a half years after being found guilty of four charges of money laundering and Ayodele Odukoya, 42, was jailed for three years and nine months after he was convicted on three counts.
The pair sent a letter sent to the ODA -- the body overseeing the construction of Olympic venues – falsely claiming to be from Skanska, a contracting firm carrying out work on the Olympic Park in east London, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The letter said the company's bank details had changed, and in May 2010 the authority paid 2.3 million pounds into a bank account which was held by a third man, Ansumara Kamara.
It later managed to recover 2.14 million pounds and contacted the police. Scotland Yard said the men were trying to launder the money in Nigeria before transferring it back to Britain where they would use it to buy a commercial property.
Kamara, 32, who was described in court as a ringleader, pleaded guilty last year and was jailed for three and a half years.
Judge Martin Beddoe, sentencing Odukoya and Olowo, said: "As the jury has found, both of you were ready and willing participants in the scheme to launder £2.3 million stolen from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).
"It is of course, a very significant sum of money." Six other people, including two women, were found not guilty.
The British government has invested a total of pound 9.3 billion to stage the Games, more than four times the original estimate when London was named host city in 2005.
The Games start on July 27.