Written in Ink

On September 5th, Eyal Mesika, an Israeli citizen and CEO of a security firm was detained at Lanseria Airport, north of Johannesburg, along with two Nigerian citizens and suitcases containing $9.3 million in US currency. The money was stacked in $100,000 blocks and the suitcases were combination-locked to which only Mr. Mesika had the code.

Initially, the money was seized by South African authorities because it had not been declared at customs. After the crimes-against-the-state unit of the national police became involved, an invoice was discovered seeking the purchase by Tier One Services, a mission-critical logistics support firm according their website, of armaments and helicopters from a Cyprus-based company called ESD International. Prior to authorities concluding that they were working at the behest of the Nigerian intelligence service and were in South Africa to buy weapons, Mr. Mesika and his companions offered several explanations for why they were traveling with the money.


Because Tier One "is not registered with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee and is thus not authorized to enter into any agreements regarding the sale and/or rental of military equipment" according to court documents, the South African National Prosecuting Authority have started forfeiture proceedings, so that the money will go to the state.

As of this writing, no one from the government of Nigeria or its intelligence service have commented. The only mention of an arrest is from a report which traces their plane to being held in trust by the Bank of Utah, which a quick Google shows had a different plane in Iran earlier this year, though that was apparently benign. There is also nothing to indicate that authorities have seized the weapons, so one would assume, they're still for sale somewhere, if anyone has some extra cash.

(Photo from LinkedIn; h/t Bloomburg)

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