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Planet Money

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Business, News & Politics

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The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at <em>Planet Money</em>. People seem to like it.

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#447: The Con Man Who Took Down His Own Country (Then Ran For Office)

March 27th, 2013

Episode 576 of 910 episodes

A few years back, the Kenyan government wanted to encourage exports. So the government said to local businesses: For every $100 of stuff you sell to someone outside Kenya, we'll give you Kenyan shillings worth another $20. A con artist saw an opportunity. He launched a company that exported nonexistent gold for nonexistent dollars, and collected a real government bonus. Then, when he was about to get caught, he started his own bank. That's when the scam really took off. On today's show: How one guy pulled off one of the largest financial scams in Kenyan history, avoided prison, re-branded himself as a man of God, and ran for a seat in parliament.

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