Ramon Abbas popularly known as Hushpuppi is a Nigerian Instagram celebrity that was arrested by the International Police at his Palazzo Versace mansion in Dubai on June 2020 for several levels of fraud, impersonation, Ponzi schemes, money laundering, and other scams. He was extradited to the United States of America (USA) even though his lawyer, Gal Pissetzky, was against the extradition because his client isn’t a citizen of the USA.
Before his arrest, Hushpuppi is known for spending lavishly on exotic watches, clothes, bags, and shoes. His major brand was Gucci but he also deals in Fendi and Louis Vuitton. He uses real estate developers as a front for his illegal hacks and fraud. He is also known for the procurement of limited editions and his exquisite lifestyle.
Hushpuppi has more than 2 million followers on his Instagram page, where he posts pictures and videos of his shopping spree. He also posts pictures of himself boarding helicopters and private jets with famous musicians, footballers, and influential people in the world.
Hushpuppi was arrested alongside eleven others in six simultaneous raids. Items that were recovered in his mansion includes 150 million dirhams (about $40 million) in cash, 13 luxury cars worth Dh 25 million ($7M), 21 laptops, 47 smartphones, 15 memory storage devices, 5 external hard drives, and 800,000 emails of potential victims alongside suitcases full of cash.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency, Hushpuppi is the key player in a giant cybercrime network that provides a haven for stolen money all over the world.
Brief biography of Hushpuppi
Hushpuppi was born and raised in Lagos State as Ramon Olorunwa Abbas before immigrating to Malaysia and finally to the United Arab Emirates before his arrest. He received his, secondary school education in Government College, Ikorodu, Lagos State. It was rumored that Abbas was a second-hand clothes seller in Lagos before his first immigration.
While growing up, Abbas was known as a ‘yahoo boy’ by neighbors, which is a local name for internet fraudsters. His mother was incessantly warning him of his lifestyle. Unlike Obi Cubana who helped his more than 53 boys become millionaires, Hushpuppi neglected his old friends from Lagos when he immigrated to Dubai, even though he prided himself on his humble beginnings.
Hushpuppi’s fraud allegations
According to the FBI, Abbas and his cohorts are accused of committing of BEC Scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm of approximately 922,857 US dollars in October 2019.
He and his cohorts allegedly tricked one of the paralegals of the law firm into transferring money intended for the client’s real estate financing to a bank account controlled by Abbas and his co-conspirators.
Abbas has also used one of his cohorts in Los Angeles, California to launder 396,050 US dollars. In February 2019, Abbas and a co-conspirator fraudulently wired money stolen from a foreign financial institution, totaling 14.7 million US dollars, to bank accounts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, and Hong Kong.
Even though the FBI didn’t mention the institution but the attack happened at the same time as the attack on Malta’s Bank of Valletta. Abbas also provided one of his cohorts with two European bank accounts where the 10.2 million US dollars were stashed away. US government has also accused Abbas of helping North Korean hackers in money laundering.
Abbas and one of his cohorts conspired to launder millions of dollars, which were proceeds from a fraudulent scheme to steal £100 million (124 million US dollars) from an English Premier League football club. Abbas is currently wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria for a fraudulent scheme of stealing Covid-19 funds, worth more than 50 million US dollars.
On July 28th, the FBI found a new fraudulent scheme tying Hushpuppi to a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Nigeria, Abba Kyari. The US government has already granted FBI access to arrest Abba Kyari for being an accomplice to a 1.1 million US dollars scam.
Even though, The Police Chief denied his involvement by saying that, Hushpuppi transferred money to him to buy caps and native wear for him, he couldn’t conceal his phone conversations with him that were released by the FBI.
According to Sabiradio, Davido’s aide, Isreal has gone ahead to back up Abba Kyari by saying that, “he is a clean cop”. He also said that “Abba Kyari has tried and is still trying in aspects of fighting wild armed robbers and kidnappers”. He went further to say, “kindly show me who is a Saint in this country”.