CONVICTED airline fraudster Victor Bassey is facing deportation after officials obtained proof of his Nigerian nationality.

Final preparations are being made to fly the conman out of Britain, despite Bassey refusing to reveal details of his background.

The fraudster - who was jailed for two years for setting up fake North-East airline Excelsis – was held by the UK Border Agency after being released from prison.

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Immigration bosses knew he was not British and wanted to deport him back to his own country, but his refusal to reveal his nationality meant he could not be sent home.

However, The Northern Echo understands that Nigerian officials have now accepted Bassey is originally from their country.

The admission has paved the way for the fraudster’s deportation, which is expected to take place later this year.

The development was last night (Thursday, January 17) welcomed by those who were conned by Bassey.

Jim Knight, who lost at least £15,000 after being hired by Bassey as a public relations expert, said: “I already feel sorry for the next community he ends up living in.”

Vicky Wiltshire, who was hired by the conman as his personal assistant and was also not paid, said she was delighted he would be deported.

“I know you’re supposed to forgive and forget but it’s very difficult. He caused so much trouble to people’s lives.”

Bassey was jailed for two years in December 2010 after pleading guilty to three charges of fraudulent trading, four charges of obtaining services dishonestly and a single charge of possessing articles for use in fraud.

The court heard how Bassey set up Excelsis in June 2009, promising to restore the air link between Durham Tees Valley Airport and London Heathrow.

A team of experienced airline managers was recruited, but Bassey's boasts turned out to be a flight of fancy.

The fraudster used fake documents to suggest he had access to millions of dollars from US banks.

Far from being a high-flying businessman, he lived in a terraced house in Middlesbrough.

Police said in court that he had used at least five aliases over the years, including Victor Omoyele, Howard Victor Jones and Victor Howard Jones.

Several different dates of birth were used on company documents and his passport was never found, although he was once charged with using a fake Nigerian passport.