Missing journalist fell for Nigerian scam

Missing journalist fell for Nigerian scam
The ORF centre in Carinthia. Photo: APA/Hochmuth
A retired Austrian journalist who has been missing since the end of May is presumed dead, after losing large sums of money to a Nigerian ‘black money’ scam.

Police spokesman Roman Hahslinger said that Peter Pirker, formerly head of the ORF regional news studio in Carinthia, was reported missing on May 21st and has not been seen since, nor are there any clues as to his whereabouts. Police believe he committed suicide.

He disappeared from his home in Vienna the day before his 70th birthday. In 2013 he fell for a scam known as the black money or wash wash scam, where con artists attempt to fraudulently obtain money from victims by persuading them that piles of banknote-sized paper in a trunk or a safe is really money which has been dyed black (to avoid detection by customs).

Pirker is believed to have been persuaded to pay for chemicals to wash the "money", thinking that he would then get a share in the proceeds.

News magazine reports that he flew to Paris last year to view a demonstration of the ‘money cleaning machine’, then sold his house in Carinthia and sent a large sum of money to Nigeria. He was declared bankrupt by the time he disappeared in May.

Relatives believe that he may have gone to Nigeria to find out what happened to his money.

Peter Pirker. Photo: APA/Eggenberger

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