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Hail Abacha
July 17, 2007 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Dear Friend, I am a Swiss Banker currently in possession of over $ 1 Billion in funds stashed away by the late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko of the Congo. Our Swiss Confederation President Micheline Calmy-Rey said her government is holding just $6.6m frozen in accounts. "We discussed the question of Mobutu's funds and my government is prepared to restore the money to the DR Congo as soon as possible," Ms Rey told reporters in the DR Congo capital, Kinshasa, after talks with Mr Kabila. But we can help you get the rest of the 92.4 million dollars if you will just send us your bank account number and call to confirm your ID and pin number.
posted by infini (65 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, they must not teach math in Switzerland.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:36 PM on July 17, 2007


Well played.
posted by william_boot at 1:36 PM on July 17, 2007


I already sent them my routing number, and my SSN just in case they need it. Too late for you suckers!
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:37 PM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


hey, when don't you contribute a million to the MeFi??

Seriously, admin, please block this user.
posted by kingfish at 1:40 PM on July 17, 2007


Hey, kingfish: RTFA.
posted by frecklefaerie at 1:54 PM on July 17, 2007


Odd post and odd BBC article link.

I guess the difference between what the Congolese think they are owed and what they are getting is 993.4 million (not 93.4...). But on what basis do the Congolese think the Swiss are holding a billion dollars and not the officially announced 6.6? Is it just because former dictators (Mobutu, Suharto) are always reputed by their long suffering subjects to have salted a way a billion (nice round number)? Or is there a more concrete reason in Mobutu's case?

Do the Swiss bankers ever come up with huge sums of stolen money after a dictator flees or croaks?
posted by jackbrown at 1:58 PM on July 17, 2007


The first thing I'd do to celebrate my new squillions is buy a nice big yellow cake.
posted by rob511 at 2:00 PM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


It' a trap!!!
posted by chillmost at 2:09 PM on July 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


"pin number"

*twitch*
*spork*spork*spork*

Please... won't someone think of the english language...?
posted by twine42 at 2:14 PM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


jackbrown,
The language used in the article (which really, really could have used some supporting links) seems to indicate that there isn't much solid support for their claims. It seems like if they had something like documents showing that a billion dollars was taken from the government by Mobutu, and also evidence that the money was in a Swiss bank, they'd be a little more than "disappointed" that the Swiss were holding out. Then again, the article doesn't say anything in terms of evidence, so who knows?

It brings up the interesting question of what recourse do people have if they really do have concrete proof the Swiss have their money and the Swiss refuse to give it up? Other thank asking through diplomacy, it doesn't seem like they can be forced to do it, as they aren't part of any international body with that kind of power.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:16 PM on July 17, 2007


Do as you are trained... AND KILL THE MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER!

Huh? Mobutu you say? Oh.
posted by yeti at 2:16 PM on July 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


DRC gross national income per capita (PPP$): $720

Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 44/48

Mobutu's estimated personal fortune: $5 billion

It's good to be the king.
posted by gottabefunky at 2:18 PM on July 17, 2007


Looks like this has been an issue for a while. Someone ought to teach these dictators how to keep better records. Oh, wait...
posted by whahappen?! at 2:21 PM on July 17, 2007


"The late dictator was believed to have stashed billions of dollars embezzled from the government treasury in Swiss accounts."

Gad. While the cat's away, the mice will play. A few of those folk over there assimilated Western ways with ease. Peace Corps, or ... ?
posted by Twang at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2007


LOLKINGFISH
posted by quonsar at 2:33 PM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mobutu meeting Foreman and Ali prior to the "Rumble in the Jungle" in Kinshasa. I remember hearing that they had to mop the blood of tortured prisoners off the floor of the stadium before the fighters arrived. Mobutu's wife, shortly after his death, if I remember correctly, was caught at an airport fleeing Zaire, in possession of $6mil in diamonds and 27 Louis Vuittons stuffed with American dollars. A regime propped up, no doubt, by the CIA and DeBeers. Idi Amin, Charles Taylor - the situation in Africa is really fucked up.
posted by phaedon at 2:38 PM on July 17, 2007


They going to get any cash back from Leopold II?
Still no word from our Ivory man there, Kurtz.

The U.S. gave Mobutu a LOT of guns and support (google ‘Wayne Madsen’ & ‘congo’), basically so companies could raid the place for copper for the phone lines and more recently minerals for computers and cell phones

As I understand it Mobutu put them more than $12 billion in the hole.
They’d be better off with debt forgiveness than an extra $1 billion. Doesn’t hurt of course, but in a nation with an annual income of about $110 per capita, each resident owes foreign creditors about $230 a year. Meanwhile they’re still getting hosed by multinational corps over their tantalite (or ‘coltan’).

(Maybe they’re smuggling the stuff in luxury subs)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:40 PM on July 17, 2007


/sorry - pdf warning above link
posted by Smedleyman at 2:42 PM on July 17, 2007


I wanted to defend the original math by pointing out that the "billion" in question could have been the British usage... but that makes it worse.

Perhaps it's the Chinese "billion". ;)
posted by rokusan at 2:50 PM on July 17, 2007


You know which other regime put millions of dollars in swiss bank accounts?
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on July 17, 2007


I just recently reverted back to Mobutu Dead Dictator from Feisty Fawn. Feisty had a problem with floating point calculations just like the current Congolese regime.
posted by uaudio at 3:09 PM on July 17, 2007 [9 favorites]


Give me a billion dollars. I have a plan;

Blimp Jousting.

It's going to be huge. Seriously: it's going to be 'Oh the humanity, oh the humanity', big.
posted by quin at 3:11 PM on July 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


"pin number"

*twitch*
*spork*spork*spork*

Please... won't someone think of the english language...?


I think of the English language often. In fact, I'm rather fond of it. I especially love how a minor redundancy (and language is full of redundancies, after all--a feature, not a bug) can send self-appointed grammar police into convulsions, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:12 PM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, pin number. It's what you use in the ATM machine.
posted by dersins at 3:30 PM on July 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


It's odd - I'm not a grammar nazi. Never have been. But that particular redundancy always makes me want to kill people. It makes shopping at Tesco difficult, I can tell you. Kill more than three of their checkout girls and you get docked 100 clubcard points...
posted by twine42 at 3:32 PM on July 17, 2007


uaudio: I just recently reverted back to Mobutu Dead Dictator from Feisty Fawn. Feisty had a problem with floating point calculations just like the current Congolese regime.
That was, quite simply, a genius comment.
posted by hincandenza at 3:38 PM on July 17, 2007


At my local ATM (at the Peoples [sic] Bank of Gambier), it asks you for your "secret number," and even better it asks for it in a seductive female voice with a British accent (which is strange, because this is in small-town rural Ohio). Avoids the whole "PIN number" issue (is that really such a big deal?) and gets me mildly hot and bothered when I need some quick cash.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 3:44 PM on July 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


That's my voice. Please give me your secret number, Baby.
posted by misha at 3:48 PM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I love when an ATM asks me for my "secret code."
posted by Hicksu at 3:56 PM on July 17, 2007


This thread hasn't been closed yet? Wow. Shocked. Shocked I am and dismayed. Actually I'm just mildly bemused. I bet when I finish typing this and hit the 'post comment' button, Jessamyn will have closed it so all this typing will have been for naught. Seems to happen to me all the time. I think Jess waits until I start typing. Somehow they can tell. But I'm not paranoid...

There was a report about this on like, 20/20 or something awhile back. Some guy who was supposedly responsible for a lot of these emails and was part of the scam operation allegedly came clean (actually they caught him in a sting so like he had no choice), admitted his guilt in front of the camera, and the reporter followed him around as he went to people who he had scam and apologized. The people seemed strangely content with the reality they'd just lost thousands of dollars.

I assume that they hired actors and that the whole news report about the scam, for an allegedly legitimate television program, was actually a scam too.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:10 PM on July 17, 2007


dersins : Yeah, pin number. It's what you use in the ATM machine.

Or, god forbid, when you have to reinstall your NIC card. I hate that.
posted by quin at 4:11 PM on July 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


woah. it actually saved. that's creepy. why hasn't this thread been closed yet, again? did i miss a meeting?
posted by ZachsMind at 4:11 PM on July 17, 2007


kingfish: welcome to metafilter.
posted by Xere at 4:29 PM on July 17, 2007


Gotta give it up for that hat/shirt ensemble. Mobutu was stylin in that stock picture. I'm pretty sure some of those billions went towards his killer wardrobe.
posted by HyperBlue at 4:32 PM on July 17, 2007


OverlappingElvis: I wish my bank had ATM machines like yours.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:42 PM on July 17, 2007


Artw:You know which other regime put millions of dollars in swiss bank accounts?

All of them.
posted by Avenger at 4:53 PM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Micheline Calmy-Rey, O HAI !
posted by carsonb at 5:33 PM on July 17, 2007


“Some guy who was supposedly responsible for a lot of these emails and was part of the scam operation allegedly came clean (actually they caught him in a sting so like he had no choice), admitted his guilt in front of the camera, and the reporter followed him around as he went to people who he had scam and apologized.”

Mobutu did all that? From the grave? Weird. No wonder it was on t.v.

Although to be fair, Patrice Lumumba back in 1960 was running an internet lottery scam and phishing. It was all with the help of the CIA.

Granted, it’s a somewhat misleading opening, but it’s ‘splained further down, and there’s only one link...
I’m oddly reminded of Bulamuzi’s quote from an old Amnesty International report :
“I am convinced now ... that the lives of Congolese people no longer mean anything to anybody. Not to those who kill us like flies, our brothers who help kill us or those you call the international community.... Even God does not listen to our prayers any more and abandons us.”

Bit hyperbolic tho, ‘cos Bulamuzi didn’t have the option to go and lookit porn.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:39 PM on July 17, 2007


So Mobutu had more than twice the GDP of his entire country in personal assets. That is pretty crazy.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:02 PM on July 17, 2007


Um, Zachsmind, did you read the linked article? The post is not a 419 scam, nor is it about them; it's just written like one as a joke because it's a story about a lot of supposedly missing money from Africa in a Swiss bank account. It's a real link to a real story about real events. For more, see Fish, King.
posted by Partial Law at 6:05 PM on July 17, 2007


Do the Swiss bankers ever come up with huge sums of stolen money after a dictator flees or croaks?

Well, there was that whole Nazi thing, with the Final Solution revenue stream. The Swiss gave a bunch of it back.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:29 PM on July 17, 2007


Did anyone else (who actually RTFA) catch the bit about them selling his "luxurious" Swiss villa for 100k? Am I missing something? Do sweet villas go for 100 G's in Switzerland, or did someone get hosed in this deal...?
posted by rollbiz at 7:20 PM on July 17, 2007


I say 'pih' number, thus simultaneously maintaining spotless exactitude and annoying the hell out of folks who are annoyed by things like that.

The 'h' stands for the same thing the 'H' does in Jesus H Christ.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:38 PM on July 17, 2007


You know, semi-tangentially, I still remember the first 419 I heard about -- it was back in '96 or '97, and one of my adult students received the pitch not in email but via regular mail, and wanted to know what I thought. I'd never heard anything like that before, but I was pretty damn sure it was a scam, and told her so.

I can't believe it's been more than a decade.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:53 PM on July 17, 2007


Stavros, you're saying it's a Personal Identification Harold?
posted by Partial Law at 8:27 PM on July 17, 2007


"Um, Zachsmind, did you read the linked article?"

Uhm, Partial Law? You mean to say you actually read the linked articles?

Actually to be honest this time I did. Saw the guy in the cool clothes (wish I could get away with wearing that kinda stuff) and scanned through it but it just looked like a vain attempt to legitimize the scams. I don't buy it. Was there a date on the article page? I don't remember seeing a date. If there was a date don't show it to me I don't care that much.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:40 PM on July 17, 2007


recursive acronyms are among my numerous pet peeves

atm machine
pin number
et al ad nauseam
posted by lazaruslong at 9:17 PM on July 17, 2007


It's obviously a Swiss billion.
posted by oxford blue at 9:26 PM on July 17, 2007


I struggled over the right term for "pin number" - i use both UK and US english along with adaptation to ASEAN and Indian versions and its confusing at times to remember the right words for the right location

I struggled over the exact number of zero's for a billion because of the concept of one lakh = one hundred thousand and one crore = ten million and then it is just weird

I used one link because a) last night there didn't seem to be any other stories showing up and b) it was the BBC so I figured it carried enough weightage.

Besides, it was IRRESISTABLE!!!
posted by infini at 11:14 PM on July 17, 2007


Zachsmind: Don't look at this July 17, 2007. And it surely can't be the BBC.
posted by honest knave at 12:18 AM on July 18, 2007


stavrosthewonderchicken : The 'h' stands for the same thing the 'H' does in Jesus H Christ.

Hallowed?
posted by quin at 12:34 AM on July 18, 2007


lazaruslong, GNU is a recursive acronym, PIN Number is a redundant acronym.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:56 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


So has any1 done this yet how much money did u get? I am thinking about it but I'm worred of sending some1 my bank numbers?!?!? but I could use sum money for buying a new pc.
posted by MarkeD at 2:02 AM on July 18, 2007


I am so stupid, I just got it that kingfisher thought infini was posting a real 419 scam to Metafilter!

That's brilliant. I mean, posting a 419 scam to metafilter.

The thing is, a lot of these 419 scams are totally misrepresented. Example, I had a crazy thing happen recently, this uncle I didn't even know I had, died in Scotland, see, and it turns out he left me his castle in his will! Isn't that insane? Came with it's own kilt too! We went to see it last week and it is really something, needs a little work, but. The bummer was, the tax man met us at the gate and it turns out, in order to actually gain posession of the castle I need to satisfy the lean and it's a little more than I can cover right now...


Oh, wait, has kingfisher logged off?
posted by From Bklyn at 2:10 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Very nice, NOT.
posted by BigCreekBill at 6:36 AM on July 18, 2007


ATM machine and PIN number are now in the wild, widely used and accepted, and immediately understandable to everyone.

The horse is out of the barn. These are two that you are just going to have to let go and accept, or else go insane trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:50 AM on July 18, 2007


Did we mention 'SAM Missile' yet?
posted by Mr Bismarck at 8:35 AM on July 18, 2007


Redundant acromyns.

ATM machine and PIN number are now in the wild, widely used and accepted, and immediately understandable to everyone.

Yeah, but a lot of people also believe that the world is only 8000 years old. That doesn't mean that they are any less wrong, or aggravating when encountered.

Ok, it's probably not a fair comparison, but it's the first one that came to mind.
posted by quin at 9:28 AM on July 18, 2007


Does anyone put it past Dick Cheney to do the same thing?

How fucking stupid we are in this country to allow those fucks to just funnel our treasury right into their own pockets.
posted by any major dude at 9:29 AM on July 18, 2007


guys and gals, what's the functions / utilities the original post serves, assuming it's a harmless joke?

why we just stick to the mission of this website and try to post sth useful?

if you have too much free time and / or energy on hand, would it be nice to go out and do sth, such as cut the grass or be a resturant busboy for free, so the US can be rid of illegal immigrants one day?
posted by kingfish at 7:20 PM on July 18, 2007


metafilter: the mission of this website
posted by infini at 11:31 PM on July 18, 2007


I'm very glad that kingfish took a minute to post that useful & rousing comment, before rushing out the door to do some free busboy work.

Like kingfish, I'm disrespectful to useless posts and illegal immigrants! Can you see I am serious! Get out of my way, all of you! This is no place for loafers! Join me or die! Can you do any less?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:22 AM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


sth.
sth sth sth
posted by From Bklyn at 12:59 AM on July 19, 2007


That's what we need - a Mission Statement! Who's good at those?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:52 AM on July 19, 2007


UbuRoivas, you are the envy of the world.

you got that rarerified one-track brain (i.e., automatically assuming i will be doing the busboy work).
posted by kingfish at 1:57 PM on July 19, 2007


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