The con that got away

The $514M Scam: The Anatomy Of Nigeria’s Biggest Ever Ponzi Scheme

By  |  January 17, 2022

It should have set off all kinds of alarm bells when one Maxwell Chizi Odum, flanked by three other serious-looking partners, brought an obscure ‘forex campaign’ to Lagos in August 2019, and made the incredibly bogus claim that his company trades an average of USD 6.5 T in forex daily. But somehow, Odum only got rave reviews; his business enjoyed glowing coverage from legacy media.

In reality, the foreign exchange market, which is usually known as "forex" or "FX," is the largest financial market in the world with a daily trading volume of USD 6.6 T. So, Odum was basically telling a big, fat lie - perhaps because that’s how badly he wanted to (over)sell his business, or maybe that’s what his entire business is: A big, fat lie.

Wearing one of his bespoke suits and spotting his trademark trim, Odum conveyed an air of confidence as he spoke in a press conference heralding the “From Bare2Blue” campaign in Lagos.

This event was essentially a means to promote his company, MBA Forex and Capital Investment Limited, and aid its expansion into the city that is Nigeria’s commercial nerve. Flanked by what appeared to be sophisticated and connected partners that included foreign nationals, the optics were good - they looked the part and acted the part. But it was to unravel soon after.

Most Read

A Reality Check Cuts African Edtech Deeper Into Investors’ Playbooks

In the past few African decades, education has needfully made some rather non-negligible

Africa’s Newest Neobanks Make Unusual Bet On Customers Overseas

Dreams came true for Chinwe Osuji when she arrived in Sweden in September

South Africa’s Black Founders Are Undermined By White Monopoly Capital

Tumelo Mametsa, a South African national who at one point spent four years