x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Nigerians con victim into paying more than $500,000 in email scam

A man paid more than half a million dollars to three Nigerian men who claimed over email to be the daughter of Muammar Gaddafi.

DUBAI // A man paid more than US$500,000 to three Nigerian men who contacted him on email pretending to be the daughter-in-law of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, a court heard.

The men told MA, 32, from Qatar, they needed his help to access a secured trust fund in Qaddafi's name.

The email said the daughter-in-law had inherited millions from her husband, who was killed during the Libyan revolution, but that the money was being kept at the United Nations office in Egypt.

It claimed she was unable to get the money because she was hiding from rebels and needed a trustworthy person she could authorise to get the money out.

"She said I would get 20 per cent from the total sum of those amounts," the Qatari said.

"I asked her how I could be sure she was not lying, so she sent me a copy of her passport which said she was married to one of Muammar Qaddafi's son's and asked me for my passport copy to make sure I was also sincere about helping her."

The Qatari flew to Egypt and met a person he believed to be a UN employee. He was then taken on a tour of what he thought were UN offices and handed two large suitcases. He took the suitcases home and emailed who he thought was Qaddafi's daughter-in-law to get the lock codes.

When he opened the suitcases he found what appeared to be large amounts of US dollars painted with black ink and two cans of chemicals next to them with UN stamps and writing saying "contact the UN offices in Saudi Arabia and London".

He phoned the number and was told that if he paid $200,000 (Dh734,600) the office would help him to mix the chemicals so that he could dissolve the black ink on the stash of dollars. He was told this was a security measure the UN took to keep its money safe.

He was then asked to pay another $362,000 to get a certificate for the dollars. He paid both amounts by wiring the money from Qatar and the UAE between June and September.

The Qatari began to get suspicious when he was asked for even more money and realised he was the victim of a scam. He contacted Dubai Police who asked him to keep in contact with the scammers and arrange to meet them.

He met one of the men on November 27 last year at Festival City. Police arrested the man, who led police to one of his accomplices, but a third suspect fled the country.

MA, 39, KS, 37 and the defendant who is still at large, EA, 25, were charged with fraudulently obtaining $562,200 from the Qatari. They were not present in court to enter a plea.

The case was adjourned to May 15.

salamir@thenational.ae