A Nigerian influencer accused of stealing and laundering millions of dollars was kidnapped from Dubai by the FBI, claims the man's lawyer Gal Pissetzky. "In my opinion, the FBI and the government here acted illegally when they kidnapped him from Dubai without any legal process to do so. There was no extradition, there were no legal steps taken, there were no court documents filed, it was simply a call to the FBI. He is not a citizen of the United States, the US had absolutely no authority to take him", Gal Pissetzky told the BBC.
The US Department of Justice told the BBC that the influencer was not extradited by the UAE, but expelled from the country. However, on its official Facebook page Dubai police said the FBI thanked the country's law enforcement for arresting and extraditing Hushpuppi to the United States.
Who is Hushpuppi and what is he accused of?
Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, who is known on social media as Ray Hushpuppi, has 2.5 million followers on Instagram. He frequently posts about his lavish lifestyle showing himself in luxurious hotels, expensive cars, and designer clothes. According to the description on his page, he is a real estate developer. However, per court documents he is accused of stealing and laundering millions of dollars.
In particular, a complaint against him says Hushpuppi runs a network of cybercriminals that targeted a US law firm, a foreign bank (reportedly a bank in Malta from which Abbas stole $14.7 million), and an English Premier League club.
The man's lawyer claims he earned his money legally by promoting designer brands on his social media page. "He is a social media influencer with millions of followers, with millions of people that respect and loved him, and he loved them, and that's what he did. In today's society, that's a business", said Gal Pissetzky