In an interesting twist of events, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has brought popular Nigerian Instagram celebrity Hushpuppi from Dubai to the United States to face trial on charges of money laundering.
Ramon Olorunwa Abbas aka Ray Hushpuppi aka Hush was arrested last month by the Dubai police working jointly with the FBI and the Interpol over his involvement in a massive $435 email fraud.
According to the FBI, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, 37, a.k.a. "Ray Hushpuppi" and "Hush," a Nigerian national, " arrived in Chicago on July 2 after being expelled from the UAE. He was produced before a court in Chicago on July 3 and will be moved to Los Angeles.
In its affidavit filed before the court, the FBI stated: "The Dubai resident who flaunted his extravagant lifestyle on social media has arrived in the United States to face criminal charges alleging he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams, including schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club."
The FBI filed a 28-page criminal complaint against Hushpuppi on June 25 after its investigations found that the Nigerian national was one of the leaders of a transnational network that facilitates computer intrusions aimed at stealing hundreds of millions of dollars.
FBI Kidnapped Hushpuppi?
A lawyer hired by Hushpuppi, however, now has gone on record and accused the FBI of kidnapping the Instagram celebrity, who has over 2 million followers, from Dubai.
Defense attorney Gal Pissetzky told BBC that the UAE had no extradition treaty with US and hence his client was was 'kidnapped' and brought to the US. Pissetzky also said that his client was a real estate businessman who earned his money online by monetizing his massive social media following.
The Chicago based attorney added that the case was going to be a long one as first the FBI will have to prove the validity of the arrest of his client from a country with which it has no extradition treaty. Hushpuppi should have been sent to Nigeria.
Hushpuppi doesn't deserve sympathy
In Nigeria, where Hushpuppi was seen as a role model for being such a businessman, his arrest sent shockwaves with many even sympathizing with the 'crook.'
Nigeria police, however, in a statement said that the millionaire crook doesn't deserve anyone's sympathy.
Nigeria Police Force spokesman Frank Mba in a radio broadcast said that that the 'Instagram celebrity' that the "millionaire crook" has the privilege of being tried in a free country and he has enough money to pay for a good lawyer.
But the US government has enough evidence against him and this was a water-tight case, he added, reported The Will Nigeria.