Shooting linked to Nigerian e-mail fraud

One of the most notorious scams operating on the Internet has been blamed for the death of a Nigerian diplomat in the Czech Republic.

One of the most notorious scams operating on the Internet has been blamed for the death of a Nigerian diplomat in the Czech Republic.

A Czech pensioner who had been defrauded by a criminal gang operating the notorious Nigerian e-mail scam has been arrested on suspicion of shooting dead a Nigerian diplomat, according to reports.

Michael Lekara Wayid, Nigeria's consol in the Czech Republic, was shot and killed at the Nigerian embassy in Prague on Wednesday, and an embassy clerk was also injured.

A 72 year-old man was arrested at the scene and taken into custody.

Early reports from the scene suggest that the pensioner had contacted the embassy to complain about being defrauded after falling for the infamous Nigerian email fraud, also known as the 419 e-mail fraud, and losing his life savings.

This scam claims to be a get-rich-quick scheme involving the liberation of money from a Nigerian bank account, although recent variations have claimed to involve the transfer of money from Zimbabwe, Bosnia and even America. In return for a share of a multi-million pound fortune, potential victims are urged to contribute thousands of pounds to aid the transfer of the cash.

Initially the scam was sent by post, but the fraud had flourished since the advent of e-mail.

In May last year, South African police arrested six people on suspicion of involvement with the fraud.

ZDNET UK's Graeme Wearden reported from London.