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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Malian billionaire Babani Sissoko dies

 Babani Sissoko, the Malian billionaire who invested in The Gambia establishing an airline company called Air Dabia in the late 1990s, has died. He was 79 and was still the mayor of his native town Dabia, in the circle of Keniéba, region of Kayee where he built an airport for his “AIR Dabia” which had 05 Boeing 747s and other planes.

During his short business interest in The Gambia, Babani who befriended former Gambian leader Jammeh, said he wanted to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in The Gambia. That did not quite materialise as he left the country promptly and never returned.  

In 2018, the BBC carried a story which featured Babani as a “playboy” who took $ 242 million from a bank. The article chronicled how the Malian made his fortune in the 1996 to 1998 in an Islamic bank in Dubai “One day in August 1995, Foutanga Babani Sissoko walked into the headquarters of the Islamic Bank of Dubai and asked for a loan to buy a car. The bank manager accepted. Sissoko invited him to dinner at his place and that marked the start of one of the most astonishing cases of breach of trust of all time, according to Brigitte Scheffer, senior BBC reporter and author of an investigation into the Malian businessman. Over dinner, Sissoko told banker Mohammed Ayoub that he has magical powers that allow him to double any amount of money. The banker returned to see him with an amount that the mysterious businessman from a distant village in Mali simply doubled, to his astonishment.  Between 1995 and 1998, Ayoub made 183 transfers to Sissoko’s bank accounts in several countries, according to the BBC World reporter, who investigated this one-of-a-kind news item.  In November 1995, only a few weeks after his meeting with Mohammed Ayoub, the Malian national went to a New York bank, where he opened an account, testifies Alan Fine, a lawyer from Miami, to whom the Islamic Bank of Dubai asked. to investigate the case. “One day, Sissoko entered Citibank without an appointment. There he met a cashier and ended up marrying her, “says Alan Fine, who knows a lot about the exploits of the Malian businessman. ” 

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