Tue, Dec


pRESIDEMadame Giselle Yazji, who became popular in Ghana during President John Agyekum Kufuor's tenure in office as President of Ghana has popped up in international news with questions on her credibility.

Describing herself as a one-time Economic Adviser to President John Agyekum Kufuor, she made headlines in Ghana around 2004 and 2005, as the media tracked controversies involving reports of her work with then President Kufuor.

She alleged she was President Kufuor's mistress and gave birth to twins for him and promised to return to Ghana with the children, but that never happened.

Her allegations against Mr Kufuor were never substantiated.

This week, she popped up in international news following an article published by the Washington Post titled "The Mysterious Madame Giselle."

According to the Washington Post. she is said to have told people that she was an advisor to the White House and have been advising Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump's daughter.

Describing her as "mysterious Madame Giselle", the Washington Post quoted her as having said she was married to two world leaders.

"Giselle Yazji boasted to her neighbors about her luxurious life and that she was the secret wife of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a mentor to Ivanka Trump and the ex-wife of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. When she told her neighbors in Chevy Chase, Md., that she could make them rich, they believed that too," the newspaper wrote.

According to the Washington Post, Ms Yazji is alleged to have defrauded her neighbours to whom she portrayed herself as a rich woman with high-level international connections in politics and economics.

The Washington Post article questioned why people should believe her?

Below is a copy of the Washington Post's article on her

The irresistibly charming woman in Apartment 713 can hold forth for hours with tales of her luxe life among the intercontinental elite, neighbors say.

Madame Giselle, as some call her, is forever boasting of being the secret wife of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, even saying she facilitated the first phone call between the Middle Eastern leader and President Trump, according to two of her neighbors in an upscale high-rise building just beyond the D.C. border in Chevy Chase, Md. Over homemade Turkish coffee in her lavishly appointed apartment or across the table at pricey restaurants, the neighbors say, she has shared in a confiding tone that she occupies a prime White House office next to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.

“I’m kind of a mom figure to her,” Madame Giselle says, according to those who live in her building.

In this gilded age of Washington excess, Madame Giselle’s casual references to her private jet and to her collection of glitzy residences in the tony D.C. neighborhood of Foxhall, as well as in Spain and Manhattan, seemed entirely plausible to some of the friends she accumulated in the hallways and elevators of a building occupied by a sophisticated array of capital insiders. For a time, the elegant woman in Apartment 713 appeared to be just another fascinating curio in a city thick with the creme de la creme of foreign dignitaries and financiers, an only-in-Washington sort of apparition.

Then she started promising to make her neighbors a lot of money.

That’s when things got messy.

On one level, the saga of Madame Giselle is a story about, in no particular order, allegations by two neighbors who say they were swindled in an elaborate scheme to sell T-shirts to the Venezuelan army, a cash-stuffed envelope slipped under a doorway, a legendary bygone scandal involving the Colombian military and a woman known as “The Blonde,” an ongoing multimillion-dollar Colombian fraud case, and a supposed helicopter ride into Syria.

But on another level, as illustrated in interviews and in hundreds of text messages obtained by The Washington Post, it’s a story about friendship and trust, about what we can make ourselves believe and how we can sometimes suspend disbelief when dreams are in sight.

At the edges of the story there is a little girl who adores stuffed animals, a father on the horns of a rough divorce, a former ambassador with a TV star son, and an out-of-towner who longed to get a PhD.

But the central figure is the woman in Apartment 713, an enigmatic presence who calls herself Giselle Yazji.

In the weeks since The Post began examining the many lives of Madame Giselle, her activities have drawn the attention of investigators in the Montgomery County district attorney’s office, according to several people who have been interviewed by authorities. (The office declined to comment.)

Reached by phone recently, Yazji — who said she was in Colombia but planned to return to Maryland soon — issued a string of denials before abruptly hanging up.

She denied boasting of a secret marriage to Sissi and arranging a call between the Egyptian leader and President Trump, and she brushed aside the allegations of the two neighbors in Maryland who say they were swindled by her.

She did not respond when asked if she’d claimed to have a White House office. One of those neighbors has sued her, and she has responded in court documents by denying all allegations of wrongdoing.

Giselle offered to make herself available for a sit-down interview upon her return to the United States, but later did not respond to requests to schedule the interview. She also did not respond to follow-up questions sent via email, saying instead in a typo-filled email that “if you want to publish fake information given to you as a gossip from somebody ir neighbors and try to damage my name ease feel free to do it. I really don’t think that a responsible person would do that knowing that I will sue you and sue the newspaper.”

‘Very rich in many things’

Bob Underwood didn’t know what to make of the unusually ornate toy bird he found his 7-year-old daughter playing with one night in early 2015.

“It entranced her,” Underwood recalled in an interview. “It was like a fairy had come and dropped it at the door.”

Neither Underwood nor his daughter knew the provenance of the toy his daughter had discovered outside their apartment, a glass-and-steel prestige address just a few steps from a thicket of luxury department stores. It wasn’t until a few days later that Underwood learned that the friendly woman across the hall had left it there, he says.

Underwood, who is now 53 and works in international development, says gifts soon started appearing every few days from the woman his daughter called Miss Giselle. A box of candy. An enormous stuffed giraffe. Children’s clothing.

Miss Giselle, who is in her late 50s, appeared in Underwood’s life at an unsettled time. He was in the midst of a divorce. Underwood didn’t become romantically involved with his neighbor, he says, but they formed a close bond centered on his daughter. The neighbor started inviting Underwood’s daughter over for tea parties and to watch movies, he says.

In an interview, Giselle confirmed that she’d had the little girl over to her home.

“I really have a beautiful apartment — very rich in many things,” she said. “I said, ‘Of course you can come.’ I very much like this girl.”

Giselle, who said she was born in Lebanon and had lived around the world, tugged at his emotions, Underwood says, by telling him that she was estranged from her own children.

“She gave me the impression of being absolutely heartbroken,” Underwood said. “It was visceral.”

Giselle started inviting Underwood to her house for coffee and to restaurants for lunches and dinners, he says. He saw her doling out $100 tips “like she was handing out Coca-Colas,” he says. Her apartment was filled with expensive crystal figurines, and there were pictures everywhere of well-dressed people. She would pull out her phone and show him photos of her home in Spain. She claimed to have a monthly income of $2.1 million, he says, and said she was renting an apartment in their building only because it was convenient, given her heavy travel schedule, while she was renovating a much larger residence in Foxhall.

As the weeks passed, Underwood says, his neighbor dribbled out details of what seemed like a charmed and exotic life. Giselle said she was giving sotto voce advice to the Obama administration on Pakistan policy, and had the use of a White House office. She also said she’d been married to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

She told richly embroidered stories about going to Cuba with the ailing Chávez. The way the hospital looked. What the doctor told Chávez. Meeting Raúl Castro.

“Very elaborate detail,” Underwood said.

Giselle and her attorney did not respond to questions about Chávez and the Cuba trip.

When Underwood expressed some skepticism, he says, his neighbor rattled off names. Obscure names. Cousins of Venezuelan leaders. Minor officials. At night he’d go to the computer in his apartment and Google the names. They’d show up. Her knowledge was nothing short of “encyclopedic,” he says.

Underwood often has trouble getting to sleep, and on one of his restless nights, he stumbled across English-language articles published in African blogs in the mid-2000s about his neighbor serving as an adviser to the president of Ghana, John Kufuor. Kufuor’s foundation did not respond to a request for comment. (The Post recently showed a photo that accompanied one of the blog posts to Yazji’s neighbors in Maryland, all of whom confirmed that the woman pictured was the mystery woman in Apartment 713.)

Yazji regaled Underwood with stories of her adventures in the free-for-all of Ghanaian politics, he says. Still, for all the bravado, Underwood says, he sometimes questioned whether his neighbor was actually as wealthy as she claimed. Once, when he raised doubts about her financial status, she flung open her closet so that he could see the dozens of designer dresses she owned, he says.

Underwood couldn’t help but be impressed.

“I’d never met anybody like her in my life,” he said.

‘It is not going to look good’

Underwood’s finances were strained by the divorce, and he was sending his daughter to a public school. Giselle, he says, pressed him over and over to move the child to a private school, saying it would be best for the little girl.

When he said he couldn’t afford it, she offered up a plan. Giselle said she could fold him into a special investment opportunity: They would bid to sell T-shirts to the Venezuelan army, a deal that she said they were sure to get because of her high-level connections there. He’d make a ton of money, he says she promised, enough so that he could set up a college fund and provide a better lifestyle for his daughter.

“I love your daughter,” Giselle said in a text message provided to The Post by Underwood. “She’s the sweetest, kindest girl.”

Looking back, Underwood says, that may have been the moment when he was hooked.

“That hit me in the gut,” he said.

In an interview, Giselle painted a different picture of her relationship with her neighbor and his daughter. She portrayed Underwood as an inattentive father — an allegation he denies.

“I’m really very kind,” Giselle said in the interview. “He is a really bad person. I think he was born bad.”

Giselle said Underwood was “always talking about his daughter. Not because he likes her. It’s because he used her. It’s amazing. Amazing, really.”

By November 2015, Underwood says, he was all in. Even though he says he’d never received paperwork about the deal, he agreed to give Giselle $1,870 to cover the cost of registration fees for their bid. She asked him for the money on a bank holiday, so he couldn’t deposit it in her account. But she said that shouldn’t be a problem — he could merely slip the cash under her door in an envelope and she’d have her assistant pick it up, according to a text message.

The payment would be secure, Giselle said, because the only other people with keys to her apartment were her assistant and “one of the secret service,” a text said. The comment made sense to Underwood since Giselle had told him that members of the U.S. Secret Service had access to her apartment because of her relationship with the White House.

The Secret Service said the agency had no comment. In an interview, Giselle denied claiming the Secret Service had access to her apartment.

“This is a confabulation against me,” she said.

At the time of their exchange about the Secret Service, Underwood was upbeat about his prospects.

“If it goes through I’ll walk over to the Church of Santo Spirito and say my thanks,” Underwood, who was about to leave for Italy, texted her. He said he also would toast Giselle with Chianti. Later, Giselle sounded celebratory, too, texting that she had bought 24 Beanie Boos, a popular stuffed animal, for Underwood’s daughter. Giselle knew Beanie Boos were his daughter’s favorites.

But as time went on, Giselle kept asking for more money. On Nov. 25, 2015, she sent an apologetic text requesting $1,200 to pay a lawyer working on the project.

“He asked for more I told him to make you a discount,” she wrote.

Underwood was getting nervous. She pushed back, seeming to use shame as a tool to overcome his hesitancy.

“It is not going to look good,” she wrote, “he [is] one of the most prestigious lawyers.”

The messages from Giselle came amid an aura of jet-setting glam. Once, Giselle said she would soon be flying to Damascus, Syria, and explained that she’d get there by first traveling to Greece, then taking a helicopter through Beirut. She told of hobnobbing with Venezuelan generals. In another text she said that her purse, which she said cost $7,000 and contained $3,000 in cash, was stolen in Egypt when she’d left her hotel without her bodyguards.

She texted Underwood that she would not tell “the president” about her mishap. Underwood presumes she was talking about Sissi, the Egyptian president who she’d claimed was her clandestine husband.

That December, Venezuela held elections that did not go well for the ruling party, seemingly imperiling their inside track to get the T-shirt deal. But days later Giselle sent a text with big news: “Hello Bob how are you they just signed the contract.”

She asked him to give his daughter a kiss for her, and told him to go ahead and toast their business success. But within eight hours, she was texting from Buenos Aires to ask for a favor: Her assistant had called and told her that she would need to complete another registration the next day. Giselle said she’d brought the wrong debit card, and was wondering if Underwood would put $1,000 into her account to cover the cost.

Sure, Underwood said. He thought he’d just scored a big contract. What was another $1,000?

Read the full article here

Source| Graphic Online

Editor's Note|

So, our Ex President Kufuor with all his knowledge fell for a scam..... I wonder how much tax payer's money he paid  to keep her mouth shut ?


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