French investigators are inquiring about the ‘Fake Minister’ for scamming banks and wealthy victims millions of dollars.The investigation is focused on Gilbert Chikli, a 53 year old French Israeli citizen for scamming around $90 million by convincing heads of state, clergy, business persons, large charities and other VIP’s that they are are working with France’s defense minister to free French citizens who was kidnapped by Islamists in the Middle East and Africa. According to French prosecutors Chikli or any other member in his group would wear a custom made silicone mask of France’s defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and sit behind an admirable desk in a room which is nicely decorated to look like a ministerial office with a massive French flag and a picture of the nation’s president and perform a video chat with the target of the scam.
Jean-Yves Le Drian who is now France’s foreign minister said that the con was ‘impressive’ observing that the scammers did a good job imitating him. He aslo added “But to the investigators in France and Israel, the case has been an embarrassing breach of national security.” A member of Israel’s fraud police told to the Times of Israel that “This is not an ordinary case but one with great international sensitivities that has caused a diplomatic incident between our two countries.This case is being investigated around the clock in both Israel and France.”
The group need targets to believe that they were being contacted really by Mr Le Drian, who will then request help financially to pay ransoms for journalists who were being kept hostage in the Middle East. French government will not pay ransoms to free their citizens and the scammers claim that in order to keep the payments quiet the money should be transferred to Hong Kong bank accounts.”Everything about the story is exceptional, They dared to take on the identity of a serving French minister.
Then they called up CEOs and heads of government round the world and asked for vast amounts of money.The nerve of it” Delphine Meillet a lawyer for Le Drian told reporters. According to a report, a Turkish businessman was scammed for half of the $90 million stolen and Aga Khan was taken for more than $20 million. The accused were arrested in Israel and have denied their involvement in the scam and are waiting for their trial in Israel. But the case has once again focused on Gilbert Chikli who was convicted in France for impersonating bank CEOs to steal around $9 million from 33 institutions in 2015.
He is now in prison in France after being handed over from the Ukraine in 2017. He had hid in Israel after his accusation of
crime in 2015. Gilbert Chikli was arrested in August 2017 when he travelled to Ukraine by the request of the French, Gilbert Chikli told police that he was on a pilgrimage to the tomb of a well known rabbi. But his phone was evidence that he had come to buy a mask. Whether Gilbert Chikli is connected to the Le Drian scam is not clear, but investigators are inquiring about he masterminded the plan and recruited a group to carry out wthout his presence.