Scammers Trick Trump-Hater Into Giving Them $9,000 For Forged 'Exxon Bribery' Documents

Chris Menahan
InformationLiberation
Mar. 16, 2017

A scam-artist posing as an "Italian businessman" managed to trick a left-wing activist who was desperate to take down Trump into handing over $9,000 for blatantly forged documents claiming to show Exxon bribed Trump to appoint him Secretary of State.

From Buzzfeed:
In the third week of January, an Israeli named Yoni Ariel flew from Tel Aviv to Rome carrying $9,000 in cash on a secret mission to bring down Donald Trump.

There, he met with an Italian businessman. Seated at a table toward the rear of a cafe, away from the street where they might attract unwanted attention, Ariel recalled, he handed over the cash. In exchange he was given a copy of a potentially explosive set of documents.

Its 35 pages told the story of a $1.6 billion wire transfer from petroleum giant ExxonMobil to a European office of a Chinese mining company, which a day later transferred 1.4 billion euros to the Trump Organization, the privately held conglomerate founded by President Trump.

The transfers appeared to have taken place in mid-June, at the exact same time that Exxon's then chief executive, Rex Tillerson, was in St. Petersburg at an economic forum, which Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended. Less than six months later, President-elect Trump -- victor in an election that the US intelligence community said the Russian government had interfered with -- nominated Tillerson to be his secretary of state.
To Ariel, who is married to an American and calls Russia's tampering in the elections "an act of war," the implications of these billion-dollar transfers were clear: Exxon had secretly bribed Trump to name Tillerson to the powerful cabinet post.

Alarmed, Ariel passed the documents to a network of Democratic and anti-Trump activists who in turn shared them with prominent news organizations including BuzzFeed News.

The only problem: The documents were phony.
The wire transfers never occurred, and the entire set of documents appear to have been forged as part of an elaborate scam. The fake documents were created, sold, and circulated by a cast of characters that includes a flamboyant Italian who claims to be a baron and a knight, an Israeli who says that during apartheid he engaged in "political subversion" on behalf of the African National Congress, and an American felon who digs up dirt to hurt Trump and other Republicans.

In the slightly more than four months since the presidential election, a burgeoning market for potentially damaging information about President Trump and his associates has emerged.

Opportunists have begun dangling such would-be smoking guns -- sometimes for a price -- in front of journalists, amateur sleuths, and deep-pocketed political activists so eager to damage the Trump presidency that they can be blind to potential red flags.
Absolutely hilarious.

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