Lekoil accused is ‘persona of a fraudster’ and never worked for us, Qatar says

A man accused of scamming UK-listed oil firm Lekoil over a multimillion-dollar loan from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has never represented the organisation, a fund spokesman has said.

Rather, the fund – the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) – believed the intermediary, Rilk Dacleu-Idrac, was the “persona of a fraudster”, said a spokesman for the fund.

The dismissal of Mr Dacleu-Idrac’s claims came as he insisted to the PA news agency that he did represent the fund, despite being accused earlier this month of being involved in a major fraud which cost Lekoil around 600,000 US dollars (£458,000).

Around 450,000 dollars of this went to Bahamas-based adviser Seawave, which Lekoil said introduced it to Mr Dacleu-Idrac.

He allegedly claimed to be a representative of the QIA, setting up a bogus 184 million US dollar (£144 million) loan for the Nigeria-based business.

A spokesman for the QIA said: “Rilk Dacleu-Idrac has never been an employee or representative of Qatar Investment Authority. QIA believes the name to be the persona of a fraudster.”

But after being named by Lekoil, Mr Dacleu-Idrac insisted to PA the QIA and the oil firm are wrong.

A purported lawyer for Mr Dacleu-Idrac said: “I doubt, highly doubt that the QIA could have made this comment since simply being totally inaccurate.”

Initially contacted via Facebook, Mr Dacleu-Idrac claimed via a series of rambling WhatsApp messages from a Qatari-based phone that he was an innocent party.

Through a personal assistant, Mr Dacleu-Idrac pointed blame away from himself over the fraud in which Lekoil was told it had landed a 184 million dollar (£144 million) loan from the Qataris.

The loan turned out to be bogus, but not before the firm handed over the 450,000 dollar fees to Seawave. A subsequent investigation found due diligence checks had been inadequate.

In one message, his assistant said: “H.E. Rilk Dacleu-Idrac never had any contact with the Lekoil entity whatsoever.”

But in the next sentence she adds he had “briefly meet [sic] M Akinyamin”.

M Akinyamin is believed to be a reference to Lekoil chief executive Lekan Akinyanmi. The meeting happened in June 2019, according to the message. Lekoil declined to comment on whether the meeting took place.

The assistant signed off: “For credibility purpose of your article, your [sic] can quote ‘a person familiar to the matter at QIA’ refering (sic) to me.”

At no point during the discussion did PA agree with Mr Dacleu-Idrac or his assistant that the information they were providing was not for publication.

The picture used by Mr Dacleu-Idrac’s Qatari-based assistant on her WhatsApp account is that of a well-known Qatari businesswoman of a different name to the assistant.

Both in messages on Facebook and through his assistant, Mr Dacleu-Idrac made unsubstantiated claims against Lekoil. PA has chosen not to republish them.

In a bizarre episode, when asked for evidence of the claims against Mr Akinyanmi, the personal assistant sent a short audio clip.

The two-and-a-half minute recording purports to be a conversation between Mr Dacleu-Idrac and representatives of Seawave, the adviser accused of orchestrating the scam.

“I just requested my legal people to serve Lekoil with a cease and desist letter,” a man says in the recording.

“I will not be protecting Lekoil when my ass is there and I’m put as a guy who actually was part of a scam or whatever,” he said.

He then proceeded to make vague claims about the company’s chief executive Mr Akinyanmi.

On the other side of the call another man can be heard saying: “What you’re saying, all is true.”

At one point a man called Khlaild Al Kuwaiti – claiming to be Mr Dacleu-Idrac’s lawyer from Abdullah & Partners – called from a separate Qatari WhatsApp number. The most prominent law firm called Abdullah & Partners is in Jordan. A receptionist told PA that no-one called Khlaild Al Kuwaiti works there.

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