To a Ghanaian King, handing someone a holdall stuffed with more than £350,000 to deposit in a bank might seem nothing out of the ordinary. Sac
Indeed, when Osei Tutu II, traditional ruler of the Kingdom of Ashanti, summoned Mark Arthur to his multimillion-pound residence in Henley-on-Thames and handed him a bag containing almost £200,000 in sterling as well as $200,000 in US currency with consecutive serial numbers, the bank official felt it inappropriate to ask too many questions.
However, the subsequent deposit of the cash at Ghana International Bank triggered a money laundering alert in the City of London and cost Mr Arthur his job.
The King, who once worked at Brent council, summoned Mr Arthur, the bank’s second most senior executive, to his home in August last year.
Mr Arthur, from New Barnet, Hertfordshire, a dual citizen of the UK and Ghana, drove to his own home with the cash and then took it in an Uber taxi to the bank’s City offices for deposit in the king’s account, he told an employment tribunal.
Osei Tutu II, the holder of a diplomatic passport, told him the cash had been withdrawn from banks in Ghana and brought to the UK, he said in his witness statement.
He had also instructed Mr Arthur to move $200,000 to an account at Standard bank in Jersey.
Mr Arthur, a member of the Ashanti tribe, the largest in Ghana, carried out the transfer within hours, the tribunal heard.
He was suspended and then sacked following the incident, after an investigation by outside accountants Grant Thornton. He is claiming wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and failure to protect a whistleblower.
The bank said he had failed to follow anti-money laundering rules and had violated security policies as it was only insured to carry cash by armoured car up to a maximum of £250,000.
Mr Arthur, an executive director of the bank, alleged the deposit and transfer were approved by Ghana International Bank’s chief executive, Joseph Mensah.
Mr Mensah told an outside reviewer of Mr Arthur’s dismissal he “didn’t even have the authority to sanction such a huge amount”.