African fraudsters detained in Siberia: officials

30th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Police detained three Africans who promised Russians to multiply their cash in a bucket with chemicals, while two others in Moscow offered locals "Moamer Kadhafi's money," officials said Saturday.

Police in Siberia's main city Novosibirsk said they had detained an international ring consisting of two Cameroonians and a national of South Africa who specialised in "large-scale fraud."

Posing as diplomats to earn the trust of affluent locals, the fraudsters would tell them they could bring from Africa semi-finished euro notes that they could turn into real money with the help of chemicals.

One businessman from Novosibirsk was told he could receive 300,000 euros if he put 100,000 euros into a bucket with chemicals and left it there for eight hours.

Konstantin Gavrin, deputy head of the regional police anti-extremism department, said the businessman and the fraudsters had met at a local hotel to conduct the operation.

"They used poisonous chemical agents with a specific smell," Gavrin said in televised remarks.

Police said in a separate statement on Friday the fraudsters used "some kind of powder (supposedly regular flour), chemical liquid and foil."

The men surreptitiously managed to swap the businessman's money for a wad of paper as they put it into a bucket, police said.

National television broadcast footage of police detaining the Africans and leading them out of the hotel.

The Channel One said that in a separate incident in Moscow a businessman had lost $60,000 to two Africans, also nationals of Cameroon, who offered him what they said was Libyan leader "Moamer Kadhafi's money."

The fraudsters said that they had to paint the money black to take it out of Africa, adding they also knew how to multiply the money, the report said.

Vyacheslav Pevnev, head of the police anti-extremism department in the Novosibirsk region, called on everyone who lost money to the African fraudsters to turn to the authorities.

© 2011 AFP

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