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Thursday, January 26, 2012
Shaun Assael on Dikembe Mutombo

By Henry Abbott

I have seen the various reports about Dikembe Mutombo and smuggling and I simply don't know what to make of them.

Here's a concise version, from ESPN's Shaun Assael, based on the United Nations' research into the matter:
It's a 400-page report that, along with alleging cynicism and greed, describes how armed militias are looting the struggling country. But there's nothing quite as cynical and greedy as the scene that U.N. investigators paint of Mutombo trying to interest the oilman in the scheme.

The PowerPoint slides were made by Mutombo's nephews, David and Stephan Kapuadi, for a Houston oilman of Nigerian descent named Kase Lawal. According to the U.N. report, they wanted to convince Lawal to use his company's offices in Nigeria to finance the gold purchase in exchange for a third of the profits.

One of the slides is illustrated with a stack of gold bars and notes, "Using the highest discretion and confidentiality is a priority."

Lawal saw the presentation at a New York hotel on Dec. 3, 2010 that was attended by Mutombo, the Kapuadi brothers, and a third nephew, Reagan Mutombo. The report claims they had 1,045 pounds of gold ready to smuggled out of the country. Also at the table was the owner of a diamond trading company, Carlos St. Mary, who subsequently confirmed many of the details to the U.N.

The meeting ended with Lawal agreeing to finance the operation, the report states.

What followed, according to the report, was an almost Keystone Kops series of events involving a crooked general, mysterious manifests and enough material for three "Hangover" screenplays.