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No evidence Nigerian business exec Otedola wanted in US for tax fraud

A 5 July 2022 post on Facebook in Nigeria claims Femi Otedola is wanted for tax fraud in the USA. 

Otedola is a Nigerian business executive, philanthropist and the former chairperson of Ardova PLC, a company previously called Forte Oil.

The Facebook post reads: “Breaking News: hours after declaring support for Tinubu, US declared Femi Otedola wanted in the US for tax fraud.”

It includes two photos and a link that promises: “Details here.” 

The link takes you to a non-secure HTTP site called “World of News”, but not to an article about the claim.

Have US authorities really announced declared that Otedola is wanted for tax fraud? We investigated.


Unrelated photos

A reverse image search revealed that the first photo, of a middle-aged white man in glasses surrounded by a group of people, is of Chuck Schumer. Schumer is a US politician, a member of the Democratic Party and majority leader of the US senate. He is unlikely to make statements about foreign nationals and tax matters.

We established that the photo of Schumer was published in March 2022 on several websites. It was in an article headlined: “Congress Clears $1.5 Trillion Spending Bill, Including Ukraine Aid.” 

The second photo shows Otedola with All Progressives Congress nominee Bola Tinubu, who is running for president in the Nigerian elections slated for February 2023.

Otedola posted the same photo of himself with Tinubu on Instagram on 5 July 2022. He captioned it: “I am always excited visiting my Great Friend Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu. May God grant him his heart's desire in becoming the President of this great Nation.”

‘No evidence’

There are no details in the Facebook post of when Otedola was declared wanted by the US for tax fraud. The lack of such detail is often a red flag that something on social media is fabricated.

There have also been no reports in the mainstream media of the US government saying any such thing, which would be expected if it were true.

Otedola hasn’t made any statement like it on his verified Instagram account where he regularly posts about his life and career.

We also found no records related to Otedola at the tax division of the US justice department, treasury department or the country’s Internal Revenue Service. There is no evidence for the claim.

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