Luso-American fraudster who skipped US justice to commit further cons ‘back on trial’
His rap sheet reads like the plot for a film. Portuguese American Allan Sharif has been in jail in Portugal since 2010. Crimes he committed even behind bars have seen him consigned to the country’s ‘maximum security establishment’ prison Monsanto, normally reserved for the country’s most dangerous prisoners. Yet half Portuguese, half Indonesian Sharif is not a murderer or even would-be terrorist, he has simply carried off extraordinary heists, often from the end of a telephone in a country thousands of miles away.
Sharif ‘fled’ the United States in 2003, reports Diário de Notícias. He was wanted for various frauds, including “extortion with threats of a bomb”, but he has never answered these charges as Portugal refused the US request to extradite him.
By 2008 Sharif had committed several crimes while living in his mother’s home borough of Mangualde, “the majority fraud and extortion” says the paper.
The exploit he’s most noted for is the attempted robbery of a bank in Miami, Florida… yes, by telephone from Portugal.
Since then there have been four separate trials here for bizarre antics like luring a Canadian businessman to Portugal on the pretext of a deal and then holding him hostage “for a millionaire ransom” in a series of hotels.
Along the way Sharif has notched up 17 and then a further 10 years behind bars – with more adding to the tally as he served his sentences.
There was the time he persuaded a prison nurse to give him a mobile phone with which he managed to defraud an Algarve real estate company – and later purportedly he staged another series of frauds with a smartphone purchased from a prison guard.
Now, with the years in Monsanto stretching ahead of him, Sharif faces a new trial – this time for alleged frauds affecting money-transfer agency Western Union, explains DN.
Three specific cases dating back to 2007 are cited which reportedly saw WU defrauded in Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom of a total of 22,000 euros.
Sharif has asked not to be present’ at the hearings, says the paper, but as he is already in jail and in this country, the panel of judges in Viseu has ‘rejected’ the request.
As for the United States where prosecutors wanted Sharif extradited over felonies allegedly committed on American soil, various cases, including the abortive Miami bank heist, have been archived. Among them were “situations in which Sharif threatened four banks with bombs: Deutsche Bank, the Bank of New York, the Bank of America and Societé Generale”, says DN.