Now, this is new: Kidnappers demand e-gold payment as ransom:
Norum Yobo is Joe’s younger brother and Norum was just kidnapped by criminals in Port Harcourt, Rivers State about 10 days ago. The younger brother is being held for ransom and the psychotic kidnappers say they will plunge a knife through his heart, unless money[e-gold] is paid for his safe return. Yes, that is correct, they are demanding "ransom gold".
It seems like an ugly new twist on a very old crime, the kidnappers are accepting the ransom paid in e-gold digital currency!
Their statement as reported by the local press, "We demand $10,000, which must be paid to our e-gold account. We will like to call his family as soon as the number is given to us," the group said in a statement. (10k is about one million one hundred and ninety thousand naira).
The Guardian reports that the Matiaph Group (gang) has taken responsibility for the kidnapping.
Abductions are rather common in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of this country, but for the kidnappers to demand e-gold seems like something new. I trust that if the kidnapping progresses to a payment stage, the e-gold techs will be tracking the $10,000 digital payment through their AT&T servers in ‘real time’ on one of those comfortable workstations in their Melbourne, FL offices.
I would not want to be the local agent in Nigeria who receives that gold for outexchange….ouch…that sting…that is the very long arm of the law. Kidnappers and e-gold, don’t mix.
Too bad for e-gold, because all the positive press in the world can’t spin the company out of that one.
I can hear the kidnapper’s statement, "we selected e-gold ransom payments because of no start up costs, all transactions are final (unlike credit cards) and the transfer fees we pay on our ransom monies are very low". Even Baghdad Bob can’t spin this story. Kidnapper with guns, using e-gold. (I have the new design for this year’s Christmas cards)
There is another aspect of the kidnappers decision to accept e-gold. This one is outlined in the recent .pdf from the U.S. Department of Justice, National Drug Intelligence Center report entitled Money Laundering in Digital Currencies.
Additionally, because the value of digital currency accounts changes with the market performance of the backing commodity, any profits earned (capital gains) during the withdrawal of digital currency accounts may not get reported to the IRS unless the digital currency account holder decides to declare the amount voluntarily.
Consequently, if the kidnappers receive the e-gold ransom payment in the morning and the value of spot gold goes up before they can sell it, technically the kidnappers would be liable to pay some additional fees and tax on the profits earned from the move in the price of gold known as the "capital gain" on their ransom transaction.
Of course that tax is only required if the kidnappers are US citizens and working in Nigeria and then they would be voluntarily reporting that extra income (fingers crossed on that one)
We’ll get back to you on those regulations, but perhaps it’s time for a bit more verification on those e-gold accounts? What do you say Doug? Food for thought?
Usually, the local militia kidnappers target oil-workers as we have so often watched on CNN. The images show a small group of white guys chained together looking very nervous, surrounded by some pretty mean looking ‘tough guys’ sporting Soviet made post cold war surplus automatic weapons and really cheap sunglasses.
Besides the trauma to Yobo’s family, this kidnapping, has sent some big shockwaves through the Nigerian sporting community.
A very popular Nigerian blogger friend and digital money enthusiast, Oluniyi David Ajao, had this to say about e-gold and the recent troubles,
"Whether is privacy or anonymity, it is a problem for e-gold and e-gold has been attempting to reverse this ugly trend for several months now with little success. Criminals still rely on e-gold and some online businesses like EasyDNS have stopped using e-gold entirely. Its brush with the United States Department of Justice, it’s IP-blocking spree, account locking, DDos attacks, and the death of its primary exchanger OMNIPAY have all been a combination of factors that have made e-gold very unattractive in recent times. Exchangers now charge between 25% and 50% for converting e-gold to national currencies!"
We pray for the safe return of the Yobo’s family member along with the arrest and prosecution of these kidnappers or criminal gang which have chosen to misuse the e-gold system.