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Sun 5 Jul 2020 07:40 AM

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Nigerian Instagram star Hushpuppi extradited to face US cyber trial

Ramon Olorunwa Abbas was flown to Chicago on July 2 and appeared in court the following day

Nigerian Instagram star Hushpuppi extradited to face US cyber trial

Ramon Olorunwa Abbas - known as Hushpuppi faces criminal charges “alleging he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from ‘business email compromise’ frauds and other scams,” the DOJ said Friday. Image: Instagram/Hushpuppi.

A Nigerian social-media celebrity was extradited to the US from Dubai to face fraud charges.

Ramon Olorunwa Abbas was flown to Chicago on July 2 and appeared in court the following day, the US Department of Justice said in a statement. Abbas, widely known as “Hushpuppi,” has 2.4 million followers on Instagram, where he regularly posts photographs of himself posing with luxury cars or boarding private jets.

He faces criminal charges “alleging he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from ‘business email compromise’ (BEC) frauds and other scams,” the DOJ said Friday.

In a BEC scheme, a computer hacker gains unauthorised access to a company’s email account and attempts to trick staff into transferring money.

Abbas was arrested last month in Dubai, before being handed over to the FBI, according to the DOJ.

He has yet to hire a lawyer and was represented by a federal public defender in Chicago, according to a DOJ spokesperson.

Abbas was part of a group that allegedly tricked a paralegal at a US law firm into wiring them almost $923,000 last October, according to an affidavit submitted by the FBI to a federal court in California on June 25. He and a partner also are accused of conspiring to steal 100 million pounds ($125 million) from an unnamed soccer club in the English Premier League, the affidavit showed.

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has said it’s investigating cybercrimes allegedly committed by Abbas.

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