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Portugal: Scammer Offered "Uranium" to U.S. Embassy in Lisbon


In July 2008, a man offered the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon 5-6 "uranium plates." He claimed that the plates had been stolen from Chernobyl, brought to Portugal, and belonged to an unidentified ex-Russian general. The man provided a photocopy of a photograph which showed a matte gray metallic brick 21-25 cm high, 48-51 cm long, and 31 cm thick. The photocopy also had had handwritten notes: (weight) = 25.350kg; U2354 Kg; MTK 99.9951 [1]. Experts concluded that the object depicted in the photograph was similar to African uranium scams first noted in the 1980s. The U.S. Embassy further learned, through police sources, that the walk-in was a well-known scam artist nicknamed the "Giraffe." A few days later, the walk-in provided a photocopy of the analysis of the material of "dubious" quality. It was decided that the case will be presented to the Portuguese Judicial Police for investigation [2].

Abstract Number: 20100270
Headline: Portugal: Scammer Offered "Uranium" to U.S. Embassy in Lisbon
Date: July 2008
[1] "Cable 08LISBON1808," U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, WikiLeaks, 30 August 2011, http://wikileaks.org
[2] "Cable 08LISBON1874," U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, WikiLeaks, 30 August 2011, http://wikileaks.org
Material: Alleged uranium

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.


This article is part of a collection examining reported incidents of nuclear or radioactive materials trafficking in or originating from the Newly Independent States.

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