Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Monday, May 24, 1999 Published at 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK

Business: The Economy

Gold dust scam

Dubai's rich businessmen are targetted by West African fraudsters

Dreams of pots of gold have turned to dust for businessmen in Dubai, who were targeted by a West African fraudster in a new fax scam.

The businessmen received strange faxes from a man based in Ivory Coast who asked for their help in disposing of millions of dollars worth of gold dust.

He called himself John Diako Sono Junior, and claimed his father was the director general of the gold and diamond refining corporation of Sierra Leone.

The man said his father had been killed and mutilated during that country's civil war.

In his faxes John Diako claimed that the family's accounts were frozen but that he had discovered two boxes of valuables in his father's underground apartment.

He said that one contained $12m in cash while the other contained a 185 kilogramms of alluvial gold dust.

The faxes then asked for the help of the Gulf businessmen in moving these sums abroad, promising in their words "handsome compensation to those who help dispose of the riches".

A reporter for the Dubai-based newspaper Gulf News contacted the sender and pretended to be interested in the offer.

John Diako asked him to fly to the Ivory Coast to open a foreign exchange currency account. They agreed on a percentage commission and John Diako insisted that their supposed deal had to remain a secret.

When the reporter then told him who he was, the alleged John Diako became angry and put the phone down.

Police in Dubai say that local businessmen are frequently the targets of financial fraud letters from abroad. Those who had been duped into giving their bank account details to strangers, have often found their accounts emptied, and all contact then lost with their 'business partner'.

The 'pot of gold' faxes are widely believed to be a new form of the financial scam letters which have been emanating from Nigeria in recent years.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

The Economy Contents

In this section

Inquiry into energy provider loyalty

Brown considers IMF job

Chinese imports boost US trade gap

No longer Liffe as we know it

The growing threat of internet fraud

House passes US budget

Online share dealing triples

Rate fears as sales soar

Brown's bulging war-chest

Oil reaches nine-year high

UK unemployment falls again

Trade talks deadlocked

US inflation still subdued

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Bank considered bigger rate rise

UK pay rising 'too fast'

Utilities face tough regulation

CBI's new chief named

US stocks hit highs after rate rise

US Fed raises rates

UK inflation creeps up

Row over the national shopping basket

Military airspace to be cut

TUC warns against following US

World growth accelerates

Union merger put in doubt

Japan's tentative economic recovery

EU fraud costs millions

CBI choice 'could wreck industrial relations'

WTO hails China deal

US business eyes Chinese market

Red tape task force

Websites and widgets

Guru predicts web surge

Malaysia's economy: The Sinatra Principle

Shell secures Iranian oil deal

Irish boom draws the Welsh

China deal to boost economy

US dream scenario continues

Japan's billion dollar spending spree