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Egypt’s Bernie Madoff: The Story of Ahmed Al-Rayan

September 22, 2022

Image Credit: Al-Masry Al-Youm Amassing a wealth of EGP 5.7 billion (USD 7 billion at the time) during his peak in 1986, Ahmed Al-Rayan was an Egyptian conman so notorious that a television series centered around his upbringing, businesses, and crimes. That wealth is equivalent to almost 20 percent of Egypt’s entire GDP during that year. Al-Rayan was only 30 years old at the time. In the United States, two decades after Al-Rayan’s Ponzi scheme, Bernie Madoff shocked Wall Street with a major USD 64 billion fraud case in 2008. Once the chairman of America’s NASDAQ stock market, Madoff built a Ponzi empire that stole from the likes of famed director Steven Spielberg, and actors like John Malkovich and Kevin Bacon. Americans of that era still remember the impact Madoff’s fraud had on the American economy. To the Egyptians of Al-Rayan’s era, his Ponzi scheme not only left a staggering toll on the economy – it forever reshaped the Egyptian government as well. HOW AL-RAYAN’S PONZI BUSINESS HAPPENED A Ponzi scheme can be defined as a fraudulent investment operation that promises fast, easy, and lucrative returns on investments with barely…

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