Blog Entry

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

Posted on: January 16, 2012 4:44 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 4:52 pm
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Posted by Royce Young

There is no question that Dikembe Mutombo has done incredible things for his native country and continent. He has sponsored humanitarian projects, spoken out about injustices and has met with State Department officials about the gruesome trade of conflict materials in his homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But according to the Houston Chronicle, Mutombo is caught up in a strange gold scam involving his home country.
Less than two weeks later, according to a U.N. report, Mutombo was in New York on a more personal cause — trying to interest a Houston oil executive in a $10 million deal to buy 1,045 pounds of gold from the mines of eastern Congo, the heart of the conflict mineral trade.

If Mutombo had reservations about the apparent contradiction between word and deed, he did not show it. He eagerly explained how he and his family had 4 tons of Congolese gold just waiting for a buyer.

Because of an internal ban on mining and exports, imposed to try to stop the main revenue source for the mafia-like militias that controlled them, the gold could not be taken to market in usual ways. What Mutombo needed was somebody with money, connections and the ability to put a deal together.

This is a complicated sitatuon and it basically breaks down this way, according to the report:

Kase Lawal, a chairman at a Houston energy company, knew Mutombo from his days with the Houston Rockets. Lawal, a native of Nigeria, had money to spend and a private jet that could hold cargo. The gold Lawal would buy was still "dirty," meaning it was in nugget and dust form, but it didn't matter. Lawal would buy the nearly 1,000 pounds of gold in Kenya, where it was lawful to do so. Mutombo would see 30 percent of the profits.

However, when Lawal sent his plane, it was seized at gunpoint by Congolese officials. No money, no gold. And Lawal was out some $30 million.

The conflict of interest here with Mutombo is a bit disturbing. Again, two weeks after he met with officials about the DRC gold and mineral trade, he was lining up a buyer for "his" gold. Gold that was likely mined mined by forced labor and funds the purchase of weapons for militias. 

What's unclear is whether or not Mutombo ended up getting paid anyway. But on the surface, it appears the whole thing was a setup, a scam with gold that didn't really exist. Or didn't exist in the sense it was described.

Though Mutombo and his family early on claimed the gold belonged to them, St. Mary actually found himself dealing with someone named Eddy Michel Malonga who claimed to be the real owner of the gold.

He also began to demand 40 percent up front. In late December, Lawal reluctantly turned over almost $4 million in cash, but only after getting a certificate of ownership and having the gold placed in a secure customs warehouse in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. A week later, Malonga — and the gold — disappeared. The purported customs facility was a sham.

When Mutombo was reached for comment by the Chronicle he responded with "I have nothing to say." 

It's really kind of difficult to summarize the whole ordeal, so I'd recommend reading the Chronicle's full story on it. Pretty eye-opening.

Via Deadspin

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Category: NBA
Comments

Since: Dec 12, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:32 pm
 

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

O well you win some you lose some!!! good luck!!!



Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:00 pm
 

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

The sad thing is that he'll probably talk hs way down to light weight charge because of his past charitable deeds. He should do the time if it's proven that he did the crime. What an incredible fool. Lock him up in the Bernie Madoff Hilton.



Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 8:58 pm
 

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

Each time I watch an NBA press conference and see a player with a 5 karat diamond in their ear I figure a kid in Sierra Leone was forced into labor and had their arm lopped off for that diamond. That is the cruel reality of third world countries. Heaven forbid NBA players build a school in a blighted neighborhood instead of buying bling. Mutombo gets somewhat of a pass due to his philanthropic efforts in Africa, but he should have known that the gold, even if it did exist, was coming from a place where human atrocities take place.

Last time I saw Jared's commercial, it was being marketed to upper-class, white-collar individuals. What do you think when you watch the Grammys or Academy Awards? "Heaven forbid THEY build a school instead of buying bling". 



Since: Dec 1, 2007
Posted on: January 16, 2012 7:54 pm
 

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

Each time I watch an NBA press conference and see a player with a 5 karat diamond in their ear I figure a kid in Sierra Leone was forced into labor and had their arm lopped off for that diamond. That is the cruel reality of third world countries. Heaven forbid NBA players build a school in a blighted neighborhood instead of buying bling. Mutombo gets somewhat of a pass due to his philanthropic efforts in Africa, but he should have known that the gold, even if it did exist, was coming from a place where human atrocities take place.



Since: Jun 19, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 7:49 pm
 

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

A warning out to all prisoners.....sharp elbows are on there way to prison...beware during rec yard games!



Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:37 pm
 

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

HA, mc bush!!!


chris haaaannnnssssoooonnnn needs to do an investigative report on mutumbo...  



Since: Dec 31, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:36 pm
 

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

Very sad!!! He must have made millions playing ball and now he is trying to scam folks. Fall from grace is an understatement and an indictment of a system that lets young men create a lifestyle that's not sustainable in the real world. I hope I am rushing to judgment and this is just not another pathetic story about an athlete gone bad. It also goes to show that you cannot judge a book by its cover. I thought more of motumbo because of his good deeds.



Since: Feb 1, 2008
Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:35 pm
 

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

The headline is misleading and makes it seem that Mutombo was a victim.  From the way the story reads, Mutombo was not "caught up" in the scam; he perpetrated the scam.



Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:26 pm
 

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

The girls at the gold room in hotlanta aren't going to sex mutombo for free you know...



Since: Oct 8, 2008
Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:04 pm
 

Mutombo caught up in $10 million gold scam

I just hope that Mutumbo is not also responsible for sending those mass emails claiming that I have won millions of dollars in NIgeria and that by sending them my credit card information and name they will deposit the funds.


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