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419 Scam – Iraq investor scam

In these emails the scammers claim to be or represent a wealthy investor. They say they want to invest money in your business or to manage some funds for them. You stand to make a lot of money, but first you must send money to their lawyer that will handle the paperwork.

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Ali Jameel Abed (



- Hello, I obtained your email contact from the American Embassy Trade section which gives free contacts of companies worldwide to Iraqi businessmen. I believe this is a way to reintegrate Iraq (which is currently isolated) into the mainstream global business village. I am Ali Jameel Abed, representing a family of Iraqi crude Petroleum oil dealers. This family has realized millions of US$ from crude oil spot (cash) sales, and now wishes to invest abroad for security reasons. We are looking for joint venture investments in economically and financially secure Countries. We are looking to invest or buy outright viable or even distressed companies… Therefore, I am inviting you to Baghdad, Iraq for an urgent meeting to discuss the logistics, options, feasibilities, legal matters, modalities, and other issues, including amount to invest in your company or companies. Iraq is much safer now, and we will take the additional precaution of retaining the American Blackwater Bodyguard Company to provide you round the clock protection while you are in Baghdad. So, your safety is guaranteed! To demonstrate our commitment and seriousness, we are ready to reimburse you all your travel expenses upon your arrival to Baghdad. We are looking forward to a favourable response from you so that we can start without delay a mutually profitable business relationship Best regards, Ali Jameel Abed, Baghdad, Iraq

Next email:

From: "Ali Jameel Abed" <>
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 20:29
Subject: Re:All expenses paid invitation to a business meeting


I thank you very much for your positive response.

As I explained earlier, our funding comes from crude petroleum oil spot (cash) trades; and we currently have US$25 million in our vaults, waiting for investments abroad. We are ready to invest in your project(s). But first we must meet in Baghdad to discuss your project in detail, and determine how much will be required. Please understand that funding will not be a problem. It is very important that we meet face to face in Baghdad, at our Office located at:

District 102, St. 13, Bldg. 19

Abu Nawas St.( Near Sheraton Hotel), Baghdad


It is very close to the Green Zone, which is the heavily guarded diplomatic/government area of closed-off streets in central Baghdad where US occupation authorities live and work. The Green Zone in the central city includes the main palaces of former President Saddam Hussein. The area houses the civilian ruling authority run by the Americans and British and the offices of major US consulting companies.

Iraq is a peculiar Country and it is not safe to write everything because emails are not secure. The Americans monitor even telephone calls! Therefore, we prefer to meet here and put all our cards on the table and discuss/agree on the way forward. We will not call you, and for security reasons, will not give you our telephone number, at least for now. Things are still volatile in Iraq, and we therefore wish to make our investments abroad SECRET! Anything can happen tomorrow, and we want to be protected, including our investments abroad… Please understand that we are very serious, and if you agree to cooperate with us, we will make you rich beyond your imagination… I must point out that we are trying to mount a 100% clean, legitimate transaction. We do not deal in drugs, guns, or other illegal activities. I repeat, our funding comes from Crude Spot (cash) Sales under the terms and conditions allowed by the American Authorities. Earlier this trade was called bunkering and banned. But as part of the agreement the Americans reached with the Sunnis to fight Al-Qadir, the Americans legalized crude spot trading…It was a win- win situation for every one. We have greatly prospered from this trade, and now we want to consolidate and invest abroad…

Please see attached my Passport.

Please advise me your travel schedule so that I can receive you at the Baghdad International Airport, and take you straight to the Sheraton Hotel, where reservations will be made for you and any associates traveling with you. Please pay your way to Baghdad, and you will be fully reimbursed immediately upon arrival to Baghdad.

It may sound naïve that we are planning to entrust US$25 million to a complete stranger, without adequate due diligence. But believe me that we have no choice! No one trusts the Banks in Iraq… This is why we keep our money in cash US$, in our Vault Safes, in our basements… Long term investments in Iraq are too risky, given the political and financial climate… To make matters worse, it is very difficult to obtain visas to travel outside Iraq, if you carry Iraqi Passport. Some people get over this hurdle by getting a second Passport from the Caribbean, but, you know you cannot hide your identity. An Arab carrying a Caribbean Passport would attract even more scrutiny in major world airports… We therefore have no choice than to seek to contact you via the internet, hoping that our investment will be wise, secured, and profitable…Our traveling to meet you is not an option…. It is frustrating when we Iraqis are viewed as terrorists and fanatics in foreign Countries. This has made the obtaining of Visa a most challenging process. Indeed, it is because of the visa problems and the blanket suspicion of any one carrying an Iraqi Passport that informed our decision to invite you to Baghdad…

We are inviting you to Baghdad for 2 reasons. First, to meet face to face and discuss the investment projects, including return on investment (ROI), equity participation, board representation, profit forecasts, legal matters etc

The second is how to finance the project(s); specifically, how to get the US$25 million cash into your Bank account. This appears simple but it is a very complicated issue. The Central Bank of Iraq will not approve a straight transfer of US$25 million to your Bank account. In our paperwork, we must show evidence that we are importing “goods and services”. So, by transferring US$25 million, a corresponding invoice for US$25 million worth of goods must be presented to the Iraqi Central Bank prior to the transfer! This makes it impossible to transfer the funds through regular banking channels in Iraq.

Attempting to transfer money out of Iraq without a corresponding import as described above is viewed as a crime of capital flight and upon conviction is punishable up to 20 years in Iraqi jail!

There is another option, peculiar to Iraq, which is time tested and has been in use since the days of former President Saddam Hussein. As you are aware, Iraq under Saddam Hussein was isolated and a United Nations Sanctions was in place which brought banking and economic activity to a standstill. The whole Country, with the active approval of the Saddam Hussein Regime resorted to the black market trade by barter. Crude oil was battered for cash US$ by the Government. Soon merchants and traders followed suit and this has not changed even under the current American occupation…The question is how did the government and people of Iraq pay for goods and services abroad? The answer is the same: Cash US$ for goods and services. The Banking vacuum created an army of foreign Agents who shipped any amount of cash to and from Iraq. To a foreign eye, this was illegal, but in Iraq, it was legitimate! It was and is still done mostly by top Diplomats in the foreign Embassies in Iraq. This was how and why Saddam Hussein survived for so long and was eventually eliminated, not by the economic blockade and sanctions, but by the American led military operation.

Finally, during our face to face meeting in Baghdad, we will introduce you to a Diplomat who will later ship the US$25 million cash to your Bank… The Diplomat will meet your Bank Officer and deposit all the money into your account! This is guaranteed! If you have questions or require clarifications, I will be glad to oblige you. Once the money is in your account, you will send us invitation letters and then we will be able to obtain visas to travel to meet you…

Finally, please understand that we are aware of all the African scams in the internet. That is why we are inviting you to come to Baghdad and see things for yourself…

Waiting to meet you!

Best regards,

Ali Jameel Abed,

Baghdad, Iraq

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