The 'black magic' bank heist

One day in August 1995 a man called Foutanga Babani Sissoko walked into the head office of the Dubai Islamic Bank and asked for a loan to buy a car. The manager agreed, and Sissoko invited him home for dinner. It was the prelude, writes the BBC's Brigitte Scheffer, to one of the most audacious confidence tricks of all time.
Over dinner, Sissoko made a startling claim. He told the bank manager, Mohammed Ayoub, that he had magic powers. With these powers, he could take a sum of money and double it. He invited his Emirati friend to come again, and to bring some cash.
Black magic is condemned by Islam as blasphemous. Even so, there's still a widespread belief in it, and Ayoub was taken in by the colourful and mysterious businessman from a remote village in Mali.
When he arrived at Sissoko's house the next time, carrying his money, a man burst out of a room saying a spirit - a djinn - had just attacked him. He warned Ayoub not to anger the djinn, for fear his money would not be doubled. So Ayoub left his cash in the magic room, and waited.
He said he saw lights and smoke. He heard the voices of spirits. Then there was silence.

The money had indeed doubled.
Ayoub was delighted - and the heist could begin.
"He believed it was Black Magic - that Mr Sissoko could double the money," says Alan Fine, a Miami attorney the bank later asked to investigate the crime.
"So he would send money to Mr Sissoko - the bank's money - and he expected it to come back in double the amount."
Between 1995 and 1998, Ayoub made 183 transfers into Sissoko's accounts around the world. Sissoko was also running up big credit card bills - in the millions according to Fine - which Ayoub would settle on his behalf.
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