JANUARY 18--In a brazen shakedown scheme targeting the husband of a former Nigerian foreign minister, a Maryland woman extorted $185,000 in hush money from the man by threatening to go public with details of their sexual affair, federal investigators charge. Queen Nwoye, a 28-year-old nurse, was accused in an indictment filed today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. of extorting Ikemba Iweala, a 59-year-old neurosurgeon who is married to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who until last August was Nigeria's finance minister. Prior to that appointment, the Harvard-educated diplomat worked for three years as the African country's finance minister. Okonjo-Iweala, 52, is currently a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution.
An FBI affidavit--a copy of which you'll find below--details the alleged extortion plot, which began early last year when Dr. Iweala, who works at Washington's Providence Hospital, received a call from Nwoye. According to FBI Agent William Ronacher, Iweala, pictured at right, acknowledged having a year-long affair with Nwoye in 2002-3, adding that they remained "social friends" after their "intimate relationship" ended. In a February 2006 phone conversation, Nwoye asked Iweala to speak with her cousin, whom she identified as "Ernest Ufondu." In a series of subsequent phone calls spanning two months, "Ufondu" repeatedly demanded money from Iweala in return for his and Nwoye's silence. In fact, "Ufondu" was actually Nwoye's boyfriend Adriane Osuagwu. Iweala initially agreed to make two $20,000 payments. A week after delivering the second installment (which he turned over to Nwoye in cash in the Providence Hospital parking lot), Iweala received a call form his ex-lover. She "told him that she had not had sex in a while and that she wanted to see him," according to the FBI affidavit.
Amazingly, Dr. Iweala agreed to a rendezvous with his extorter later that evening. The pair, in Nwoye's car, drove to a secluded area of the hospital parking lot and disrobed. As they "were engaged in sex, or about to engage in sex," an unknown man approached the auto and began taking photos of the naked duo. Not surprisingly, the brain surgeon immediately began receiving new demands from Osuagwu, who told him, "What happened tonight? That was a terrible mistake. Now I have the photos. You have to pay money to stop all these things." Iweala paid an additional $145,000 before contacting authorities about the scheme. In subsequent phone conversations monitored by the FBI, Nwoye told Iweala the explicit photos "would not go anywhere without her support" and claimed that all the money she received was forwarded to "Ufondu." Nwoye, charged with a felony count of conspiracy to commit extortion, is free on a personal recognizance bond and scheduled for a February 15 federal court appearance.