FACC, a maker of plane prats (sorry, parts) has fired its CEO of 17 years after he fell for one of the oldest tricks in the email scam book and cost the company $56.79m (about £39m) in the process.
Austrian citizen Waltar Stephan, who proves once more in life that idiots get promoted, fell for the classic 'fake president' scam in which criminals pretend to be someone high up in a company and send a personalised email to someone equally high up in the company talking of the need for a secret transaction.
The company said: "In the supervisory board meeting, held on May 24 2016, Mr Walter Stephan was revoked by the supervisory board as chairman of the management board of FACC AG with immediate effect.
"The supervisory board came to the conclusion that Mr Walter Stephan has severely violated his duties, in particular in relation to the 'Fake President Incident'. Mr Robert Machtlinger was appointed as interim CEO of FACC AG."
The company has managed to recover about a fifth of the stolen dough, but the rest has disappeared into accounts in Slovakia and Asia, wiping a huge chunk off the company's share value, which bounced back on news of the sacking.
The company's chief financial officer has also left the firm in the wake of the debacle.
FACC can take some comfort, though, as a Belgian Bank lost its shirt in the same scam to the tune of $75.8m.
The scam relies partly on ego, i.e. the assumption that a senior person is important enough not to double check a huge financial transaction, possibly the result of a takeover.
Scam emails are a bane of modern life, but it's relatively unusual for people to fall for them, especially as the spelling is often poor and the yarn is overly spun, like the recent plea to help rescue a trapped Nigerian astronaut stuck on a space station.
This one was more than that, however, as it was a psychological attack on the ego, preying on the vain but gullible. Nevertheless, in the UK alone, over 100,000 people reported phishing scams to the rozzers last year. Not even Apple users are safe.
Fortunately, Stephan now has more time to spend with his family, staring at shiny things and marvelling every time someone claims to have "got your nose". µ
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