How a scammer used a silicone mask to bilk millions from the Aga Khan

Reported by CBC on March 13, 2020

Gilbert Chikli was sentenced on Wednesday for a scheme involving a silicone mask and the impersonation of the former French defence minister. He stole over 50 million Euros in total from a group of victims that included the Aga Khan. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Gilbert Chikli was one of six men sentenced on Wednesday for a scheme in which he used a silicone mask to impersonate a former French defence minister.

Chikli was already well-known in France for his previous scams. But this most recent plot involved him stealing a total of over 50 million euros (over $77 million Cdn) from a group of victims that included the Aga Khan.

Chikli was sentenced to 11 years in prison. His associate Anthony Lasarevitsch was sentenced to seven years; four other men received sentences ranging from 15 months to five years.

New York Times reporter Aurelien Breeden covered the trial. He spoke with Day 6 host Brent Bambury and Chikli’s scheme. Here’s part of their conversation.

How did this scam work?

It was brazen and elaborate. Basically, there was this small group who targeted a huge array of people and institutions. They would call these people and pose as France’s defence minister, who at the time was Jean-Yves Le Drian.

They would provide some pretext saying there was a pressing matter of national security, often a hostage release, and they would say that France urgently needed millions of euros for some sort of off-the-books operation that couldn’t be made public.

They would ask these targets to wire that money to foreign accounts in Poland and China or wherever. So the whole scheme was basically an impostor scheme. It was based on convincing people that this really was the defence minister calling for help.

Chikli would pose as French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, pictured above. He would then tell potential victims that France urgently needed millions of euros for an off-the-books operation that couldn’t be made public. ( JOHN THYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

How many people were taken in by this?

To be fair, most people did not fall for it. Of the 150 or so who were targeted, in the end only three actually sent money. But those three people were very rich.

There was a very wealthy Turkish businessman. There was the French head of a very prestigious wine estate. And the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims, who is a very wealthy man. And so those three people alone [were] enough to pull in over 50 million euros.

How much of that 50 million euros was recovered?

Investigators are still trying to trace that money, because as soon as it was sent over, it bounced from shell account to shell account. And at the trial, the court asked for damages to be awarded to these three victims.

But there’s very little hope, at least as of now, that that money will actually be recovered and that those damages will be awarded.

How convincing was this disguise that they put on for Skype video calls?

It doesn’t look great. The fake office that this person is in looks almost comical. There’s a very ancient phone on the desk. And I think someone looking at it now thinks there’s no way people could fall for this.

But what they did [was] very smart. They kept the calls very short and the quality intentionally fuzzy. Everything was done so that if someone was already starting to fall for this, they might think: “Wow, OK, this is the real deal” — even though in hindsight you look at it and you think, “Well, I’m not sure how people fell for that.” But some people did.

Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, imam of the Ismaili Muslim community, was one of Chikli’s victims. (AP Photo/Jan Bauer, Paul White)

What can you tell us about Gilbert Chikli?

He is a larger-than-life kind of character. He’s 54. He’s Franco-Israeli. And he has this kind of swagger about him.

He was sentenced in 2015 to a very similar scam where he would pretend to be the CEOs of companies. He would call up employees and convince them to draw cash from the company accounts and wire it somewhere — again, always under the pretext of some sort of top secret operation. He was very good at sweet-talking people.

How did he end up getting caught for this French defence ministry scheme?

He was actually arrested in Ukraine with another person who was also convicted in this scam. They were in Ukraine for an unrelated reason. Investigators think they were trying to potentially develop a new scam where they would impersonate the prince of Monaco.

That maybe what they were doing in Ukraine — trying to find potentially, you know, someone who could make a mask in the prince of Monaco’s [likeness]. But they were arrested in Ukraine and extradited to France.

What was the reaction in the courtroom when they sentenced Chikli?

He was very angry. There was an outburst on his part. He basically said that the prosecutors were working for the rich. He accused them of doing this at the bidding of the defence minister. And he sounded outraged that he was being asked to pay millions in euros in damages to these three victims.


Written and produced by Steve Howard.

11 thoughts on “How a scammer used a silicone mask to bilk millions from the Aga Khan

  1. You mean to say that him in whom is vested ALL KNOWLEDGE and AUTHORITY could not tell that this was a scam?

    I also have been told (and seen the letter sent to all STAFF) that he may be a big PHILANTHROPIST but his staff at SERENA are being made destitute in KENYA where a few dollars would go a long way to endure these hard times!

    And people keep giving money and they are waiting to go to JK and handover their Dasond???? So his income will be deferred but not drop!!!!!

    BUT does he know that there is a court where HIS SCAM would be prosecuted??????? What restitution/punishment awaits? – The Qur’an is very EXPLICIT!

    During my father’s last days, I mentioned to him that when he left UGANDA he had his account with OTTOMAN bank but Bank of England operated in London. I asked if he went to the Bank in London, would he have got his money with the OTTOMAN Bank.. He responded – of course not. So I pointed out to him that in the HEREAFTER only ALLAH’s Bank operates and your name would not be there as you have paid into AGA’s bank. He was shaken and all he could say that had anybody explained as simply as that he would not have done what he did. Perhaps Allah SWT will accept the words of remorse as repentance and forgiven him. He passed away a few days later.

    How blind are those that will not see when things are RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM??????

    On Sun, May 31, 2020 at 7:24 AM Inside Ismailism wrote:

    > Akbar Khoja posted: ” Reported by CBC on March 13, 2020 Gilbert Chikli was > sentenced on Wednesday for a scheme involving a silicone mask and the > impersonation of the former French defence minister. He stole over 50 > million Euros in total from a group of victims that inclu” >

    Like

  2. Major Scammer is the fake Imam Agakhan an atheist. Why isn’t he in prison? Well, an easy answer is that the devil Dajjaal is given the permission to fool as many dumb ones, then Allah-Creator of the Universe will stop him and grab him by the neck for looting and misguiding innocents -dumb ones. Request to his followers to stay away from the Satan ki aulad and save yourselves from hell fire, where the Dajjaal will be screaming and cannot protect his followers.

    Let us not give wrong ID to Agakhanis and Agakhan: as Ismaili Muslims. They are not Muslims, nor has anything to do with Islam, but staunch enemies of Islam and Muslims.
    Salaam/peace//An ex-Ismaili.

    Like

  3. WOW! SubhanAllah!

    An eye opening Good question: “him in whom is vested ALL KNOWLEDGE and AUTHORITY cold not tell that this was a scam?”

    >>>>>>>>
    Ha, Ha, Ha. It is a laughable situation but tragic at the same time as the innocent followers are locked up in an evil chain of Dajjaal-anti-Christ-anti-GOD.

    False god-Khuda Agakhan forgiver of sins, an atheist so-called Mowla of his slaves, selling tickets offering Paradise-Jannah, forgiving sins every month with cash, forgiving the sins of evil acts punishable and torture in the Grave-Maadan ka Chanta, selling a sip Water (Nyaz) every Friday-though free Water provided by Allah yet most hated by fake Imam,
    plus charging Imam’s share- 12% of our monthly income, plus 8%, plus 1/4th, plus cash for safe journey, safety of life etc. Just pray to him and he will provide all the goodies. That’s too laughable yet major crime according to the Holy Scriptures-of Judaism, Christianity-Injeel and Quran.

    Fake Imam an atheist is the ‘Major Scammer’.
    Why isn’t he in prison? Well, an easy answer is that the devil Dajjaal is given the permission to fool as many dumb ones, then Allah-Creator of the Universe will stop him and grab him by the neck for looting and misguiding innocents -dumb ones against Allah-Creator of the Universe.

    Request to his followers to stay away from the Satan ki aulad and save yourselves from hell fire, where the Dajjaal will be screaming and cannot protect his followers.
    Although, majority of the Ismaili followers are good people but blinded by an Iranian apostate hate-monger of Islam has also blinded the world leaders by his fake face Mask.
    Only those who are following the Holy Scriptures can recognize his true ID.

    Let us not give wrong ID to Agakhanis and Agakhan: as “Ismaili Muslims”. They are not Muslims, but only Hindu-Ismailis, nor has anything to do with Islam, but are staunch enemies of Islam and Muslims.​
    Salaam/peace//An ex-Ismaili.

    ________________________________
    From: Abdulaziz Moledina
    Sent: May 31, 2020 9:58 AM
    To: Inside Ismailism
    Subject: Re: [New post] How a scammer used a silicone mask to bilk millions from the Aga Khan

    You mean to say that him in whom is vested ALL KNOWLEDGE and AUTHORITY could not tell that this was a scam?

    I also have been told (and seen the letter sent to all STAFF) that he may be a big PHILANTHROPIST but his staff at SERENA are being made destitute in KENYA where a few dollars would go a long way to endure these hard times!

    And people keep giving money and they are waiting to go to JK and handover their Dasond????
    So his income will be deferred but not drop!!!!!

    BUT does he know that there is a court where HIS SCAM would be prosecuted???????
    What restitution/punishment awaits? – The Qur’an is very EXPLICIT!

    During my father’s last days, I mentioned to him that when he left UGANDA he had his account with OTTOMAN bank but Bank of England operated in London.
    I asked if he went to the Bank in London, would he have got his money with the OTTOMAN Bank.. He responded – of course not.
    So I pointed out to him that in the HEREAFTER only ALLAH’s Bank operates and your name would not be there as you have paid into AGA’s bank.
    He was shaken and all he could say that had anybody explained as simply as that he would not have done what he did.
    Perhaps Allah SWT will accept the words of remorse as repentance and forgiven him.
    He passed away a few days later.

    How blind are those that will not see when things are RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM??????

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘Half knowledge is dangerous’.
    Can’t blame Yasin and Qaseem for not understanding the frauds of Imams and falling for Malik’s tricks of using fake ID..
    Sadly, as soon as we utter Islam and Quran they get on fire.
    Why can’t they worry about their own religions-cults and sects?
    That teaches to fear their khuda and Mowla, but not a word of Allah.
    “Oh Mankind, fear your Lord-Allah, who created you of a single soul–“.
    Malik: Please sent the above to your khuda who is not aware of it, as he never mentioned it to his followers.
    Salaam/peace

    Like

  5. Dear Naseem and Group of converts, you have the freedom of expressing your own opinions, so I don’t mind what you wrote about me, I swallow what is written in ignorance but one thing I found +tive in you and that is your good intention. However, dear converts you have to learn many more things before you people sit down to pass adverse comments with a very scanty and limited knowledge of Islam. You still have to go long way to gain indepth knowledge of Quran and its faith system.

    Like

  6. What a peaceful way of introducing our Messiah Jesus (AS) to the world. This proves Jesus (AS) belongs to us and Islam, and is one of us, as he was a Muslim from the tribe of Judah. Including all the other Prophets Noah (AS), Lot (AS), Israel-Jacob (AS), Moses (AS), mentioned in the Quran. Who were working on order of Allah.

    People needs to know the meaning of ‘Muslim’. Millions of Muslims are from different tribes: Jews, Israelite, Indians, Asians, Africans, Punjabi etc.

    Allahamdullillah, we entered Islam with the Grace of Allah and came to know HIM and all the other Prophets and Messengers including Universal Messenger Muhammad SAWS. All that was hidden from us by the treacherous tricks.. None of our treacheries would work against Allah as HE is the only winner. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ________________________________

    Like

  7. Who is the leader of the house of Islam? Who is the Khalifatullah at the seat of prophet Mohammad SUH and HP for the obedience of Allahussamad ? Who is the Yadullah in verse  48:10 in our age? Who a is divinely chosen leader of 7.79 billion souls in our age? Are you are MUSLIMA like Mariam AS or a momina? Indeed all messengers and prophets were 100 per cent MUSLIMEEN as aal e Abraham but the Real Imamat existed in the posterity of Ismail AS. Trustee Imamat existed in aal e Isaac AS.The Imamat of James: Brother of Jesus, Successor of Christ & Leader of Early Christianity

    | | | | | |

    |

    | | | | The Imamat of James: Brother of Jesus, Successor of Christ & Leader of E…

    Every Prophet has had a Legatee (wasi) in whom the Light of the Imamate has been firmly set and established with… |

    |

    |

     Please do refer to the prayer of prophet Abraham SUH in verse 2:128. رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ – 2:128

    Muhammad Mukhtar Alam,Ph.D.

    Like

  8. Assalamu Alaikum Sis. Samiya:

    SubhanAllah! True words of wisdom spoken by you, which proves you are the believer of Allah and Rasool SAWS. Unlike the Dajjali fraudster Zina who is still continuing her treacherous tricks of copy pasting Islamic details to cheat Muslims.
    She has taken her Mowla-Khuda’s teaching very well. From surface love talk about Islam but behind the closed doors hate it. That’s what the fake Imam Agakhan an atheist is doing. He is proven Dajjaal-with 2 faces.

    Br. Qaseem has read all her hateful emails abusing Islam and Muslims, and recognized her as anti-Islam and enemy of Islam and Muslims, and spoke about it right away. Who wouldn’t? Only the hypocrites would keep quiet.

    Although, it is extremely wrong to abuse Sis Yasmeen, but he is not abusing Islam nor criminal of Islam like the Agakhan and his cronies are truly criminals of Islam, yet we are crucifying him, but cannot crucify the worst enemy of Allah, Rasool SAWS and Al Quran: who declared our Quran wrong Othmani Quran, and saying all Islamic practices are wrong”, repeating her Mowla Baapaa-god’s Farmaan/fatwa. Who has kicked off Islam, Allah and Quran. Like an apostate Mukhtar and Mike GHouse (fake name). Now playing bands of pathetic Pluralism dajjal ways and promoting the dajjal and his cult..

    No true Muslims can tolerate such blasphemous statements and fight against Allah and Islam.

    Though, all the true Muslims now know her and her Mowla-Khuda’s true ID. Allahamdullillah.

    Dajjaali Zina is shameless kufar, absolutely possessed by her Dajjaal Khuda that is crystal clear in her following Satanic questions and opinions:

    a) “Quran says that ALL wives are Mothers – Nabi had some 12 wives…do you accept them all as your Mothers including Bibi Khadija, and Prophet’s Jewish and Christian ,? Yes or No ?”

    Answer: You dumb Dajjali worshiper: who the hell are you to question Muslims?
    You should question your Khuda why has he rejected Allah, Islam and Quran, yet using the fake ID of Islam for his created Hindu-Ismaili cult?

    Why does he marry non-Muslims-non Ismaili Christian women-Actresses
    and Pub workers?
    You dumbo all the wives of Rasool SAWS accepted Islam and were Muslims.

    Read our more answers below to your irrational idiotic questions, which itself proves you are a non-Muslim-kufar- an enemy of Allah.
    Also you are giving away your true ID of non-Muslim-hateful of Islam,
    keep opening the Pandora’s Box giving away your secrets:
    This is called Allah’s miracle, blessings on us Muslims and divine help to us.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Subject: Fwd: Samiyya, sorry to see that you believe this criminal of Islam, Qaseem u…
    >>>>>>>>>>

    Like

  9. Sorry! By mistake the wrong key ‘sent’ pressed, the answers aren’t completed yet.
    InshaAllah I am going to finish the answers. See below:.
    >>>>

    “We never gave bayah to Muawiya and Yazeed like you did and now holler and scream at all and sundry.

    Answer: Who is worst? You gave Bayah to your human god-dajjal never even knew who was Allah, or Islam, and now fighting against Islam and trying hard to eliminate it like he eliminated it for you all. Leading you to hell fire.
    Muawiyah and Yazid were practicing Islam not Hindu-Ismailism.

    Yes those who were there at that time had to accept whoever was appointed the leader with majority votes. In Ismailism there is no voting system, you need to rely on your slave master’s order, and after his death your Krishna Bhagwan orders you to accept another Dajjal.

    Allah says in the Quran:
    Ati Ullah wa ati —Rasool–Wa –amr Minkum”.
    You kufars misinterpret it as to obey your fake Imam who is anti Allah.
    You have quoted the same Ayayt, without even knowing anything about Islam.
    Even H. Hassan (RA) accepted them both, as he was the most understanding peaceful person. It was about Islam and not about power and authority. You fake Muslims cannot understand it.

    Muawiyah and Yazid weren’t anti-Allah or anti-Quran like you kufars.
    Nor they stopped any Muslims to practice Islam. In fact Islam was thriving under their authority. SubhanAllah.

    ________________________________

    Like

  10. Quran is full of true wisdom but samiya doesnt undertand that wisdom and uses it to build a wrong argument; all the same new converts think barking is the only way of new islam they are reverted to.

    Like

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