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African fraudsters target UK property market

West African fraudsters are inviting people to invest in a property purchasing scheme, in a new take on the classic Nigerian scam.

An email entitled ‘I need a good property manager’ was sent to Mortgage Strategy from a Matthew Opara, allegedly a Nigerian former local government chairman who now specialises in private shipping.

Opara writes that he intends to purchase properties in the UK as an investment and asks for help finding residential and commercial properties, as well as land to buy. He states he intends to invest $15m.

Unlike previous email fraud schemes, there is no mention of transferring money to bank accounts or depositing cheques but Opara does ask for phone and fax contact details as well as personal information about the email recipient.

He writes: “My need to acquire these properties is urgent, as I am planning to move out of my country with my family down to your country.”

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard says: “Nobody who receives such invitations should reply.”


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Strong dollar can be a powerful driver of UK dividend growth in 2015

By Robin Geffen, fund manager and CEO 

This year threatens to be a challenging one for UK dividend hunters. Last year saw an all-time record amount paid out in UK dividends — some £97.4bn, according to research from Capita Dividend Monitor. Yet as Capita also pointed out, out the biggest single factor driving the growth in the fourth quarter of last year was easy to identify: the rising US dollar. 

In our view, this trend is much more than simply a one-quarter phenomenon. It is actually the most profound issue to get right as a UK equity income investor in 2015. We believe that the US dollar will continue to strengthen significantly from its current level. This is due more to the US economy’s demonstrable de-coupling from the rest of the world than to a view on the UK. The US has a strong chance of tightening monetary conditions this year without jeopardising growth or de-stabilising its housing market. The same can unfortunately not be said about the UK.


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