Extortion, it does happen in real life!! by Abdul Habib 25th August 2006 Just imagine the scenario. You’re the head of an International regulatory body whose very existence is being threatened by the recent actions of one of your officials. You’re attending meeting after meeting trying to find some happy medium, you know that if you make a mess of this and your organisation crumbles. Then your head is on the chopping block! Just then an e-mail arrives in your inbox; it’s from the official who was the creator of all this furore. You nervously click ‘open’ and begin to read. Your eyes begin to widen and sweat begins to pour down your brow, you can’t believe what you’re reading. It sounds like the script to a bad extortion flick. The official has written to you offering to make all your problems go away. He’s asking you to secretly deposit half a million dollars into his account by the end of the month or face the consequences. He’s also demanding that you not go to the authorities or anyone else with his demand, he wants it kept confidential. He even provides you with a cover story which you’re supposed to feed to the media. He goes on to issue a veiled threat about libel suits to other organisations but you’re left in no doubt that the threat extends to you too. You’re still sat there frozen in your chair. You read and re-read the letter; you check and re-check the name of the sender. No matter how hard you pinch yourself, you just can’t snap out of this bad dream. That’s because it’s not a dream. It’s reality! Despite your brain trying to convince you that no-one could be that stupid, your eyes continue to feed you the evidence printed on your computer screen. Yes that’s right, you’ve just received a extortion demand to the tune of half a million dollars!! You sit there contemplating whether or not you should accept it quietly and bury the matter there and then. After all who would know? Then your mind wanders to the logistics of making $500,000 disappear from the accounts. How would you explain away a sum like that? And even if you did manage it, what then? These sorts of stories have a way of coming out. There are rumours flying about that the individual that you’re dealing with is working on a ‘tell all’ autobiography. In fact he himself has made the statement that ‘people will pay’ for the way he’s been treated, what if you’re one of those people? Do I really want to be one of the chapters in his next book you ponder. Your clammy hands, wet brow and the patches under your arms provide you with a clear answer. It’s obvious really, you can’t take that chance, you need to go public with this and you need to do it at the next opportunity!!