Helping hands

Mr. Ntobo,

As a active participant in human rights watch groups, and a close follower of recent events in Zimbabwe, I am very happy to help you through this difficult time. My family, too, has rightful claims on farms within that country, and have faced similar pressures. Luckily, we have been able to diversify our land holdings within Africa, as well as in parts of South America and Australia. The amount you indicate is sizeable, and I feel that a partnership would be mutually beneficial.

As I am certain you are aware, the normal course of action in such cases is that a small token of good will–say $25,000–is exchanged in order to cement the business relationship. I will be in Amsterdam from February 18-21, perhaps we could arrange a brief meeting? I will have my attorney draw up the appropriate forms and contracts, and I have a banker with whom I have worked successfully in Holland on similar, “sticky” situations.

Thanks very much for contacting me. I look forward to a mutually beneficial arrangement.

A. Halavais
Halavais Agricultural and Pharmaceutical Import and Exports, Ll.C.
New York, London, Bogotá, Amsterdam, Bangkok

> —–Original Message—–
> From: Lauren Ntobo []
> Sent: Friday, January 31, 2003 10:07 AM
> Subject: Urgent Business Assistance
> Lauren Ntobo
> +31-627-196-887
> You may be surprised to receive this letter from me since you do
> not know me personally. Firstly I will like to introduse myself,
> I am Lauren Ntobo, the first son of James Ntobo , one of the most
> popular black farmers in Zimbabwe who was recently murdered in
> the land dispute in my country. I got your contact through
> network online hence decided to write you. Before the death of my
> father, he had taken me to Johannesburg to deposit the sum of
> US4.5 million (Four million, Five Hundred thousand United States
> dollars), in one of the private security company, as he foresaw
> the looming danger in Zimbabwe this money was deposited in a box
> as family valuables to avoid much demurrage from security
> company. This amount was meant for the purchase of new machines
> and chemicals for the Farms and establishment of new farms in Swaziland.
> This land problem came when Zimbabwean President Mr.Robert
> Mugabe introduced a new Land Act Reform wholly affecting the rich
> white farmers and some few black farmers, and this resulted to
> the killing and mob action by Zimbabwean war veterans and some
> lunatics in the society. In fact a lot of people were killed
> because of this Land reform Act for which my father was one of
> the victims.
> It is against this background that, my family and I fled Zimbabwe
> for fear of our lives and are currently staying in the
> Netherlands where we are seeking political asylum and more so
> have decided to transfer my father’s money to a more reliable
> foreign account. Since the law of Netherlands prohibits a refugee
> (asylum seeker) to open any bank account or to be involved in any
> financial transaction throughout the
> Territorial zone of Netherlands, as the eldest son of my father,
> I am saddled with the responsibility of seeking a genuine foreign
> account where this money could be transferred without the
> knowledge of my government who are bent on taking everything we
> have got. The South African government seems to be playing along
> with them. I am faced with the dilemma of moving this amount of
> money out of South Africa for fear of going through the same
> experience in future, both countries have similar political
> history. As a businessman, I am seeking for a partner who I have
> to entrust my future and that of my family in his hands, I must
> let you know that this transaction is risk free. If you accept to
> assist me and my family all I want you to do for me, is to make
> an arrangements with the security company to clear the
> consignment (funds) from their affiliate office here in the
> Netherlands as i have already given directives for the
> consignment to be brought to the Netherlands from South Africa.
> But before then all modalities will have to be put in place like
> change of ownership to the consignment and more importantly this
> money I intend to use for investment.
> I have two options for you. Firstly you can choose to have
> certain percentage of the money for nominating your account for
> this transaction. Or you can go into partnership with me for the
> proper profitable investment of the money in your country.
> Whichever the option you want, feel free to notify me. I have
> also mapped out 5% of this money for all kinds of expenses
> incurred in the process of this transaction. If you do not prefer
> a partnership I am willing to give you 10% of the money while the
> remaining 85% will be for my investment in your country. Contact
> me with the E-mail address while I implore you to maintain the
> absolute secrecy required in this transaction. Thanks, God bless you.
> Yours Faithfully,
> Lauren Ntobo.

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  1. Posted 1/31/2003 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    URGENT: HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL! (on SubIntSoc: Situation Room, from MeFi.
    I laughed so hard at this, I cried. And then I was just crying. :(

  2. alex
    Posted 1/31/2003 at 8:21 pm | Permalink


    I am left slightly confused. I had assumed you had contacted me because of mutual friends in Amsterdam. I am known, in certain circles, for my ability to effectively and efficiently handle international financial flows in situations similar to your own, and while contact via email is unusual, I had assumed it was due to your unfamiliarity with this process. However, having made telephone inquiries among business partners in Amsterdam, none recollect referring you to me.

    Naturally, in my line of work, I must be very careful with whom I associate. I live something of a double life, working both as an academic and a creative financier. Those with whom I do business often prefer to remain discrete, and I am sure you understand that I must also be thorough in my dealings with new clients in order to ensure the privacy of my own affairs and those of my other clients. Though I am confident you are who you say you are, you must understand that there are those–members of both the government and large corporations–who might enter into such a relationship upon false pretenses in order to better understand some part of my operations.

    To that end, I prefer to deal face-to-face. I assure you such a meeting will be held with utmost discretion, and with significant security. Within Amsterdam itself, I have cultivated a relationship with the police forces and political elite, and they ask no questions of my business arrangements. I have an equally enviable relationship with some, shall we say, less savory elements of Dutch society which also provide me with services from time to time. I suggest the following:

    We can meet at 15:30, on February 19 in Dam Square on the west side of the palace steps. This is a busy and relatively anonymous location. By then, I should have your photograph and will seek you out. From there, we can head to a local, busy restaurant for a light snack. I know a place that serves excellent peri-peri chicken, and this should remind us both of better days in Zimbabwe. If this is an inconvenient time, please contact me before February 3, 22:00 GMT, at +507-265-7844. I am staying under the name “Pedro Escobar” and would prefer you use this name in our conversation. If I do not hear otherwise from you, I will assume these details are acceptable.

    In the intervening weeks, I have asked a friend in immigration to make discreet inquiries as to the disposition of your request for amnesty. I recognize the delicacy of this situation, and I assure you that things will be handled carefully. If you would contact another associate, Mr. Kuipers, at +31-20-664-2822 and answer his questions, this will accelerate the process. For reasons that should be clear to you, I do not wish to get into too much detail over e-mail or international telephone lines.

    I expect that our negotiations are exclusive, and can assure you that it is in your best interests to deal plainly with me and my associates. In return, I can assure you that you will be satisfied with the services my organization provides.

    I look forward to working with you,

    Alex Halavais

    A. Halavais
    Halavais Agricultural and Pharmaceutical Import and Exports, Ll.C.
    New York, London, Bogotá, Amsterdam, Bangkok

    Original Message
    From: lauren ntobo []
    Sent: Friday, January 31, 2003 12:49 PM
    Subject: Update(Thank You For Your Response)

    Dear Alexander,

    I want to use this opportunity to thank you very much for the response to my e-mail,well I will also thank you for your sympathy towards the ordeal we faced In zimbabwe and i shall be willing to give you details why i am soliciting your assistance

    Firstly what you must know is this ,I am currently under political asylum here In the Netherlands and the law here prohibits asylum seekers engaging In cash transaction of this magnitude untill he or she has been seen finally through the asylum process, and because of this simple reason I do not want to deal with anyone here In the Netherlands all i need Is a foreign partner or affiliate that can be capable enough to help me Invest this funds In a profitable venture that will be a source of income for me In the future since I do not intend staying or Investing in the Netherlands due to the above mentioned reason.

    What Is required of you as I have told you in my previous e-mail If you are willing to render your assistance Is simply to act on my behalf as the sole beneficiary to this consignment(funds) with the courier company ,but before you can do this you must have the neccessary documentations as proof showing you as the actual beneficiary.All these i will send to you with all the neccessary signatures on one condition,I need to be assured of your willingness to help me execute this challenges ahead with ultmost trust and honesty.And you should be aware that I have set out 10% for your assistance and for norminating your account and another 5% on every expences Incurred during and after this transaction but you should also be aware of one very important factor that you will be In the Netherlands to personally meet with the officials of the courier company to witness the final release of the consignment(funds) to you on my behalf for onward transfer Into the respective account which you shall provide.

    Please you can Include your direct telephone/fax lines,Full Names/Address,Date of Birthand to enable me effect a change of ownership to your name and also for us to communicate and discuss personally.

    Thank you once more ,please attend to this as I await your urgent response I implore you to matained your utmost secrecy until this transaction is finally concluded.


    Lauren Ntobo.

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