People stand trial for ‘Nigerian letters’ scam in Malaga

THE 168 people to stand trial in Malaga over an international ‘Nigerian letters’ scam face a combined 1,596 years in prison.

Malaga’s Public Prosecutor is seeking nine-and-a-half year jail terms for each of the people – most of them Nigerians – accused of sending fake letters telling recipients they had won lottery prizes.

The case dubbed ‘Nilo’ is due to begin in November in Malaga but the large number of people accused is causing practical problems. Malaga’s largest courtroom is being used for the ongoing ‘Malaya’ corruption case.

An alternative location is yet to be found for a trial expected to last until at least May 2012. But of the 168 people accused, only 110 have been located, while there is a search and arrest warrant for the others.

And only 29 of the 236 witnesses have been located. This was the first investigation handled by Malaga’s Anti-corruption Prosecutor, and began in July 2005 in Malaga when 310 people were arrested.

More than 250 were remanded to prison.

The scam reached victims in almost 30 countries, who paid quantities of between €525 and €96,000 after receiving a letter in which they were told they had won a prize on the Spanish lottery (which they had not) and requesting a certain amount of money to carry out the proceedings to pay out the prize money.

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