Ron Kray’s Nigerian Building Project

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“We lost a packet in 1963-64 to a building project in Enugu in Nigeria, which was later to become Biafra. It was Ernest Shinwell, the son of the Labour peer Manny Shinwell, who got Reggie and me interested in this one… He’d been approached, he said, by the government there, who wanted him to form a company to develop and build housing estates and factories and schools. Shinwell said there was a fortune to be made for those who invested in the scheme. We stuck in £25,000 straightaway and a lot more money from the Kray coffers followed that little lot straight down the Nigerian drain. It was another case of us getting involved in something we knew nothing about. We just got out of our depth. It happens. 

The only good thing was that I had a couple of trips to Enugu, which was the capital of that part of Nigeria. On both occasions I was welcomed by Dr Okpara, who was the prime minister at the time. He drove me around, which his chauffeur, in a battered old Rolls and really wined and dined me. I didn’t realize at the time, but it was probably Reggie and me we were actually paying for all this VIP treatment.”

Reg and Ron Kray: Our Story, with Fred Dinenage, Sidgwick and Jackson Ltd, 1988.

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