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Nigerian gang is behind €100m gold scam – FBI

The FBI and Interpol are investigating a scam involving an Irish passport believed to have been forged by a Nigerian gang from data obtained in Dublin, which is at the centre of a €100m gold scam in West Africa.

The passport – in the name of a John Recketts – was used in an elaborate ruse to dupe American investors of millions of dollars in a scheme which ran for almost 12 months.

The number on the passport was the same as that of a valid travel document of an elderly woman resident in Dublin, but all other details were professionally forged.

The scam revolved around US investors being able to purchase unprocessed gold directly from a mine in West Africa, without any fees, charges or taxes being applied to it.

The sum involved was more than €10m, but the investors stood to make up to €100m if the gold was successfully transported to Europe or the Middle East and processed.

The US investors, all industrialists, had invested €3m in setting up the export and security operation. But the scam was discovered when an Irish security team was hired to escort the gold out of Africa on their behalf.

The security team became suspicious when it was unable to make direct contact with the shipment organiser – John Recketts – despite spending more than three months in West Africa.

When the group reported their suspicions to the US investors, the businessmen immediately withdrew and abandoned the Irish team in West Africa.

“We were cut loose — the minute they (the investors) realised what was going on they walked away. We had to pay all our own expenses and even our flights home,” a member of the security team said.

The US investors have now complained to the FBI about the fraud. No John Recketts exists and corporate addresses supplied to the investors for firms in Benin, London, Burkina Faso and Togo were also found to be fake.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said: “We don’t publicly comment on individual investigations of fraud or related matters.”

However, it is understood the Irish government has not yet been formally contacted by either the FBI or Interpol.

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January 27, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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