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From Russia, elaborate stories from fake journalists| GuyWhoKnowsThings

The man appeared in a poorly lit room reading on his computer screen, which was reflected in his thick glasses. He appeared to be a real person, but it has not been possible to verify his real identity. No one named Mohamed al-Alawi appears to have published previous articles or videos, as would be expected of a journalist. According to Active Fence, an internet security company, the character has no educational or employment background, nor a network of friends or online social connections.

The video, however, showed what purported to be photographs of a purchase contract and the villa itself, creating a veneer of authenticity for gullible viewers. In fact, the property is part of a complex owned by Orascom Development, whose website highlights El Gouna's “year-round sunshine, sparkling lagoons, sandy beaches and blue waters.”

An article about the video claim appeared two days later as a paid advertisement, or brand content, on Punch, a Nigerian news outlet, as well as three other Nigerian websites that aggregate news and entertainment content.

The article had the byline of Arthur Nkono, who according to Internet searches does not appear to have written any other articles. The article cited a political scientist, Abdrulrahman Alabassy, ​​who also does not appear to exist except in accounts linking the villa to the corrupt use of Western financial aid to Ukraine. (Punch, which later deleted the post, did not respond to requests for comment.)

A day later, the claim made its first appearance on X in a post by Sonja van den Ende, an activist in the Netherlands whose articles previously appeared in propaganda outlets linked to the Russian government, according to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. She (she also served as an election observer in an occupied territory of Ukraine during the Russian parliamentary elections in September).

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