Bait for kidnapping

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Bait for kidnapping

Below is an e-mail that a dear friend and a well-recognized international banker received. He forwarded it to us for our (not so) sage comments.

Email begins:

What I am about to reveal to you is NOT one of those famous Nigerian scams you have so well described in your book, The Offshore Money Book, on page 190. By the way, I am amongst those who fell victim to the Nigerian scam: I lost $5,000 plus in late 1980’s. I believe that given your extensive contacts and knowledge in the offshore community, you should be better positioned to help or to know someone who might help in this project. Basically, I have access to over $USD100 million in cash. These assets belong to a relative, and are in safe keeping in Africa. That is where I went to investigate the asset lasts week and to assess the situation. The principal brought the asset to country “B” for safety after a major political upheaval in country “H”. The assets are genuine/authentic US dollars denominations, not forgery. And they are from legitimate business profits: artisan and organized gold, diamonds, and other commodities dealings. Because many African states are “cash” economies, it is not unusual to find substantial cash in people’s homes when it is not stashed overseas; people do not trust local banks/institutions.

I am inspired to suggest to the principal that he consider an offshore financial move for assets protection, privacy and security. Therefore, I have been directed to organize the placement of this asset offshore: Select the right offshore banks to put the assets; select an experienced offshore adviser with superior skills who can design a plan for the principal and set-up offshore parameters legally and on the best possible terms. My principal has close and regular interaction with local government officials in country “B”, (the originating country), who will assist in getting the asset out via wire transfer, as well as other means.

The only “problem” is that all the asset, (cash US$) have stamps on them; a blue-ink distinctive mark on the surface/sides of the bills, put on by a contractor based in the Middle East. The Contractor was hired originally by the principal to protect the asset when fleeing country “H”! The contractor is asking for $1,000,000 to remove the markings on the bills using a special instrument/chemical. The principal has $500,000 and needs an investor with the balance. The investor will get a commission for the service rendered. The entire operation should take hours/days (to clean the cash) and then about 60 days to complete the transfer to offshore locations. The $500,000 could be paid directly to the contractor in Arabia and would never reach Africa. I am planning to return to the “originating” nation to monitor the operation. I would like to work with a bank owner that you know personally and who could assist in this project. We would consider a lasting relationship with such a banker who could assist in executing this operation. To that end, I would like to meet with you for a close door session and hammer out a plan; in the event that you are willing to consider this proposal. I could travel to meet with you as soon as possible.

Thank you for your consideration.

End of email.

(Our thoughtful (or not so) sage 2nd response…(The 1st response was rather blue and unseemly – not fit for print, you know…))

“I have personally worked with African nationals who have amassed large amounts of US currency. It was amassed in the just the manner described in the e-mail and some was from bribes. The “problem” is this blue ink thing. The only blue ink regularly applied to currency is contained in a blue ink bomb that is placed in satchels of cash or armored cars during robberies. When the blue ink bomb detonates it leaves the currency and the perpetrator stained with blue ink. The purpose of the blue ink is to make the currency and the perpetrator easy to spot. However, even if the currency has been soaked in blue ink (or dragged across a lawn, or partially eaten by termites) it is still US Currency, and is still legal tender. The Treasury Department has a division that does nothing but currency reconstruction when currency has been burned, eaten by termites or passed though the digestive system of a dog (all true stories..), and the Treasury will issue a credit to you for that amount of currency that can be reconstructed. It is all done for free without a front fee for dye removal or chemical treatment.

And the rest of the story….

South Africa has recently reported a dramatic rise is business abductions. Foreign businessmen visiting South Africa are being kidnapped and held for ransom. Foreigners are being lured to South Africa with the offer of easy profits. Lures such as commission to aide in the transfer of stolen money, and the offer of pieces of blue paper that are said to be US dollars covered in blue ink or a security dye, are being used to get the victims to come to South Africa, were they are held for ransom.

South Africa already has 20,000 murders per year and now they are expanding into kidnapping. Don’t let greed overcome prudence.

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