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$30m stuck in Shenzhen bank? Crikey

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It's been a bit quiet recently on the 419 front. Well, not quiet exactly, because our inboxes are as plump as ever with mournful pleadings for assistance from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, etc, etc, etc.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

We haven't, however, yet seen proof that the Lads from Lagos have opened a Chinese franchise - until now. The following email is a long discourse, but worth the effort. It's evidence that someone, somewhere in Nigeria has finally got hold of an English dictionary. Not that they've quite mastered it yet: look out for the tragic tale of Mr Robert Rice, who died "interstate". Nasty:

From: Alex Zhang Yanling [mailto:azy03@dprserve.org]
Sent: 08 June 2004 10:14
To: azy03@dprserve.org
Subject: Greetings

FROM THE DESK OF: MR. ALEX ZHANG YANLING
BANK OF CHINA
SHENZHEN BRANCH,
REPUBLIC OF CHINA.
EMAIL ADDRESS: azy01@echina.com OR azy124@visitmail.com

Dear Friend,

How are you today and business in your country? I am Mr. Alex Zhang Yaning, Bank Manager of bank of China, Shenzhen Branch, China. I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail confidential and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this mail. I contacted you independently of our investigation and no one is informed of this communication. I would like to intimate you with certain facts that I believe would be of interest to you. I know you would be wondering why I am writing you with a request such as this but I only urge you to read on. In November 1998, a British Oil consultant/contractor with the Chinese Solid Minerals Corporation, Mr. Robert Rice made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at US$30,000,000.00 (Thirty Million Dollars) in my branch. Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address in America and Britain but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract employers, the Chinese Solid Minerals Corporation that Mr. Robert Rice died alongside his wife, from an airplane crash.

The bank immediately launched an investigation into possible surviving next of kin to alert about the situation and also to come forward to claim his estate. If you are familiar with private banking affairs, those who patronize our services usually prefer anonymity, but also some levels of detachment from conventional processes. In his bio-data form, he listed no next of kin. In the field of private banking, opening an account with us means no one will know of it existence, accounts are rarely held under a name; depositors use numbers and codes to make the accounts anonymous. This bank also gives the choice to depositors of having their mail sent to them or held at the bank itself, ensuring that there are no traces of the account and as I said, rarely do they nominate next of kin. Private banking clients apart from not nominating next of kin also usually in most cases leave wills in our care, in this case; Mr. Robert Rice died interstate.

In line with our internal processes for account holders who have passed away, we instituted our own investigations in good faith to determine who should have right to claim the estate. This investigation has for the past months been unfruitful. We have scanned every continent and used our private investigation affiliate companies to get to the root of the problem. This sum of US$30,000,000.00 has since been sitting in my Bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each year. No one will ever come forward to claim it. According to the Laws of Republic of China, at the expiration of 5 (five) years, the money will revert to the ownership of the Chinese Government if nobody applies to claim the funds. What I wish to relate to you will smack of unethical practice but I want you to understand something. It is only an outsider to the banking world who finds the internal politics of the banking world aberrational. The world of banking especially is fraught with huge rewards for those who occupy certain offices and oversee certain portfolios. You should have begun by now to put together the general direction of what I propose. There is US$30,000,000.00 deposited in my bank, I alone have the deposit details and they will release the deposit to no one unless evidence of relationship with the deceased, which I shall provide you with, is presented. I alone know of the existence of this deposit for as far as Bank of China is concerned, the bank's management has no single idea of what?s the history or nature of the deposit.

They are siply awaiting instructions to release the deposit to any party that comes forward. This is the situation. This bank has spent great amounts of money trying to track this man's family; they have investigated for months and have found no family. The investigation has come to an end. Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand in as the next of kin to Mr. Robert Rice so that the fruits of this old man's labour will not get into the hands of some corrupt government officials. Acting in this capacity really is simple, all you have to do is provide your full names and address so that an attorney here can prepare the necessary documents and affidavits that will put you in place as the next of kin. We shall employ the services of an attorney for drafting and notarization of the WILL and to obtain the necessary authentication, approval and a letter of probate/administration in your favour for the transfer to be done. A bank account in any part of the world that you then provide me with will then facilitate the transfer of this money to you as the beneficiary/next of kin. The money will be paid into your account for us to share 80/20.

I am aware of the consequences of this proposal. I ask that if you find no interest in this project that you should dis-regard this mail. I ask that you do not be vindictive and destructive. If my offer is of no appeal to you, delete this message and forget I ever contacted you. Do not destroy my career because you do not approve of my proposal. You may not know this but people like myself who have made tidy sums out of comparable situations run the whole private banking sector. I am not a criminal and what I do, I do not find against good conscience, this may be hard for you to understand, but the dynamics of my industry dictates that I make this move. Such opportunities only come ones' way once in a lifetime. I cannot let this chance pass me by, for once I find myself in total control of my destiny. This is my chance and I won't let it pass me by. I ask that you do not destroy my chance, if you will not work with me let me know and let me move on with my life but do not destroy me. I am a family man and this is an opportunity to provide my family with new opportunities. There is a reward for this project and it is a task well worth undertaking. I have evaluated the risks and the only risk I have here is from you refusing to work with me and alerting my bank. There is no risk whatsoever as all the paperwork for this transaction will be done by the attorney and my position as the Branch Manager guarantee the successful execution of this transaction. If you are interested in this lucrative role, I urge you to indicate to that effect. Upon your response, if favourable, I shall then provide you with more details and relevant information that will help you get full understanding of the transaction.

I will appreciate it if you send me your confidential telephone and fax numbers for easier communication. If you find yourself able to work with me, contact me through this email address. If you give me positive signals, I will initiate this process towards a conclusion. I wish to inform you that (should you contact me via official channels), I will deny knowing you and about this project. I repeat, I do not want you contacting me through my official phone lines nor do I want you contacting me through my official email account. Contact me only through the numbers I will provide for you and also through this email address. My official lines are not secure lines as they are periodically monitored to assess our level of customer care in line with our Total Quality Management Policy. Please observe this instruction religiously. Please, again, note I am a family man, I have a wife and children. I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to what the consequences may be, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my private banking clients. Do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we should plan a meeting, soon. In closing, please observe utmost confidentiality, and be rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us because I shall require your assistance to invest my share in your country. Upon receiving your reply, I will then furnish you with a more comprehensive detail of this transaction and what is required of you. Awaiting your urgent reply via my personal china email account appended below.

Yours Sincerely,
Mr.Alex Zhang Yanling

Bio-data forms and Total Quality Management Policy? Blimey, things really have moved on from the days of EVERYTHING IN CAPS. Mind you, it's still the same old "bloke dies in plane crash" routine, although we like the "dynamics of my industry dictates...." angle. Bankers? Yup, we always knew they were as bent as a nine-bob note, even if they are only trying to make a better future for themselves and their kiddies.

But be warned, though, before being tempted to immerse your snout in the Nigerian trough. As Alex himself points out: "I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold." Spot on. There's a moral in there somewhere. ®

Bootnote

Thanks to Bob Schukai who has declined Alex's kind offer and forwarded it to us.

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