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Colombian imposter poses as Lebanese diplomat

Jeyson Puello was passing himself off as a high-ranking diplomat and former Lebanese foreign minister
The Lebanese Parliament in the capital Beirut on 22 April (AFP).

A Colombian man is being investigated for posing as a Lebanese diplomat after giving lectures on the Middle East and advising the Colombian military under a false identity, local media reported.

Jeyson Puello, a resident of the northeast city of Valledupar, was using diplomatic papers with a UN seal to pass himself off as Jason Ali Hakim Abdullaziz Al Nayb, supposedly a high-ranking diplomat and former Lebanese foreign minister, news reports said.

Despite his perfect Spanish and ordinary clothing, Puello managed to get into official meetings and establish a network of army contacts under the assumed identity.

But a curious colonel who noticed the "diplomat" always arrived at meetings on foot contacted the Lebanese embassy in Bogota.

"There's no person by that name," he was told in a letter printed in newsweekly Semana.

The letter called on Colombian authorities to investigate and try the "imposter."

Police caught Puello by sending a fake invitation to "the honourable ambassador."

He was briefly detained but has been released pending further investigation.

Puello had two diplomatic accreditations, one from the Colombian foreign ministry and another identifying him as the Lebanese ambassador, said daily newspaper El Tiempo.

The Colombian foreign ministry declined to comment.

The incident comes 50 years after a seminarian in Neiva, in central Colombia, passed himself off as India's ambassador, living a lavish life until the ruse was discovered. The episode inspired the 1987 film "El Embajador de la India" (The Indian Ambassador).

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