Celebrated scams: the fraudsters who 'sold' off the Eiffel Tower—and the world's largest sculpture

Statue of Unity in Gujarat wikimedia

Coronavirus pandemics bring out the worst in people; indeed, in one of the most audacious cybercrimes ever committed, an online scammer tried to sell the world’s tallest statue for $4bn. The statue supposedly up for sale depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first deputy prime minister of India, which stands on a dam facing the river Narmada in the state of Gujarat. “Some unknown person placed an advertisement on OLX [early April] stating he needs to sell the Statue of Unity for Rs 30,000 crore to meet the requirement of money to make hospitals and buy healthcare equipment [in the wake of the coronavirus crisis],” a police officer told Business Today India. The Indian authorities have reportedly filed a “cheating and forgery” case against the bogus individual who tried to put the gargantuan memorial on the market. Throughout history, other unsavoury characters have tried to cash in through dodgy heritage sell-off schemes. In 1925, “Count” Victor Lustig convinced a raft of scrap metal dealers that the Eiffel Tower was at risk of being demolished. Posing as a representative for the beleaguered French government, Lustig sold the tower to the highest bidder, bagging the staggering princely sum of $350m. Shortly after, the conman sold the tower again to another businessman, proving that gullible individuals are always bowled over by monster monuments….