Ely Calil, backer of a farcical coup plot, died on May 28th

Mr Calil, dapper and brazen

THE sudden, violent death of a man who had prospered for decades from oil brokering in Africa is not necessarily suspicious. Ely Calil was Nigerian-born, of Lebanese descent, and well known to African presidents, European ministers and Western oil firms. He died on May 28th, reportedly from a broken neck after falling down the stairs of his large London home.

Mr Calil amassed a fortune thanks largely to his chumminess with two Nigerian dictators of the 1980s and 1990s, Ibrahim Babangida and the flagrantly corrupt Sani Abacha. He was one of a breed of “fixers”, or “bagmen”, who flit between Africa and Europe, cultivating ties with politicians and taking a cut from “facilitation payments” from investors bidding for licences to drill for oil or dig for gold.

Although softly spoken, he was brazen. He once let a journalist from Harper’s observe his negotiations over gourmet dinners in Paris. Until recently…

Powered by WPeMatico