Architects beware of fraudulent scam, says Seychelles Financial Intelligence Unit
The Sunset Beach Hotel on Mahe island's magnificent northern coastline. Architecture in the Seychelles islands tends to blend in with the natural surroundings and consists mainly of low-lying buildings. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles’ Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has issued an alert to prevent Seychellois nationals from falling for an alleged international scam targeting architectural design companies.
In a press statement issued yesterday, the FIU states that the scam already reported in the UAE, Switzerland and Italy may be more widespread, although it has not been reported in other countries.
“The aim of the scam is to induce architectural design companies to pay money to register in a false entity allegedly regulating architects in Seychelles, so that they can be awarded lucrative contracts for the design of luxury holiday villas,” reads the FIU statement.
The site s www.herminieconstruction.com and www.apa-seychelles.com are two websites that have been created as part of the scam which FIU describes as “reasonably convincing with photographs and official looking forms to be completed.”
According to statement, Herminie Construction is a fake company claiming to be Canadian owned but based in the Seychelles luring targeted firms to register with the Association of Professional Architects of Seychelles (APAS) which does not exist in Seychelles.
“Forms are sent for completion to join the association and bank details are passed for the fees (thousands of dollars) to be transferred by Western Union to an account in the UK,” it reads.
The FIU has started an investigation while it alerts the general public in Seychelles especially professional architect associations as well as the island nation’s diplomatic and consular officers abroad through the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In spite of reference to the Indian Ocean archipelago though FIU says “there does not appear to be any substantive link to Seychelles in the conduct of this scam.”