Bank fraudster behind film

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • |
  • Updated: Sep 15, 2012 01:00 IST

The man widely believed to have made the film behind the protests in Libya, Egypt and Yemen, has turned out to be a bank fraudster with a history, and at least 13 pseudonyms.

Law enforcement officials have identified him as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a resident of the US state of California and convicted in 2010 for bank fraud.

He opened bank accounts using stolen identity details and issued cheques from them to some bogus accounts also set up by him. And withdrew money from these bogus accounts at ATMs.

He got 21 months in jail for it and was ordered to pay $790,000 as restitution and was prohibited form using computer or the Internet for five years without his probation officer's approval.

Nakoula has been in hiding since protests broke out. But he has given some interviews posing as Sam Bacile, an Israeli Jew, and then one face-to-face interview as himself,  Nakoula, a Copt — Egyptian Christian.

As Bacile, he took full responsibility for the film — Innocence of Muslims — but as Nakoula he was less daring, claiming to have only helped in its production.

It was not immediately clear who is investigating him now.

The FBI said it wasn't. "We only have an open investigation into the attacks on diplomatic facilities in Libya, Egypt and Yemen," said an FBI spokesperson.

According to reports, a permit for making the film was taken by a California outfit called Media for Christ, which did not respond to a mail requesting comments.

Actors appearing in the film have claimed they were misled about the project.


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