Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

You've Got a Friend at S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

From today's Le Monde:

A vast swindle involving pseudo-financing of the war on terror has led to the withdrawal of 5 million euros from several banks. The brains behind the operation has sought refuge in Israel, say French police. Two persons were arrested Monday and three other sought, including the ringleader, Gilbert C., who has flown to Israel.

One of the swindlers presented himself at various Paris banks as the director of an international bank. Claiming to be an official in the war on terror in which several European countries are participating, the bogus banker informed French financial institutions that they'd have to "clean house" on "suspicious money transfers" to "terrorist networks". The targeted French banks were told to expect a visit from the French counterespionnage agency, the DGSE (General Directorate for Foreign Security) to solicit money in order to penetrate the networks. He indicated that cash would be requested and urged discretion on the transaction.

In July, a French bank indicated its acceptance and handed over 350,000 euros in cash at a Parisian bar to the girlfriend of the ringleader. $2.5 million was deposited into a Swiss bank account by another French bank in September. Another million euros were deposited into an account opened in Hong Kong. A third account with a deposit of 5 million euros was opened at an Estonian bank. The first two deposits were cancelled in time, but Gilbert C. was able to withdraw funds from the third account.


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