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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Denies bail to Nigerian influencer Ramon ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas, accused by the FBI of money laundering

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Nigerian influencer Ramon Abbas, known online as “hushpuppi” and “billionaire Gucci Master” was denied bail and told by a judge on Monday in Chicago that he will remain in detention until the trial at the end of the year for money laundering charges.

Appearing in a detention hearing, a court in the Northern Illinois district ruled that Abbas will be transported to Los Angeles by the United States Marshals service and will not be allowed to be with his girlfriend’s uncle in Homewood, Illinois. His trial is slated to be held in Los Angeles, where the case was filed, rather from Chicago, where investigations are being handled.

During the hearing, Abbas’s attorney denied that his client was a flight risk or a danger to the community, repeatedly dismissing the allegations made against the FBI custody posted earlier this month. The main accusation raised by the FBI is that Abbas was part of a network that made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from scams and other scams on corporate email.

United States Assistant Attorney Melody Wells, a prosecutor from the Chicago district attorney’s office, convinced the court that Abbas is a flight risk, describing his “significant” financial resources, “deep foreign ties” and the lack of ties to the United States. Wells said Abbas had the “perfect recipe for escaping the charges he faces here.”

Abbas tried to live with a relative of a girl in Illinois, but this was questioned by the prosecutor, claiming that Mr. Abbas had “never visited” the girl or their child in the United States so far. “There is no evidence that I ever met this” uncle “who would be the third-party custodian in these circumstances,” said Wells.

The court ruled that “there was more than enough justification for ordering the American Marshall to bring [Abbas] in California as soon as possible to respond to the complaint. “Feeling that Abbas had” A great incentive not to continue responding to these proceedings here, “since he is” facing a long sentence. “

The court recognized the risks that in addition to holding passports in other countries (Saint Kitts and Nevis), Abbas has “access to large amounts of money”, described by the court as “not changing chumps”. Adding, “The fact that you plan a rich lifestyle … you have to do something right to pay $ 10,000 a month for an apartment in Dubai … you have access to some real money.”

Forbes he currently does not include and has never included Abbas on his list of billionaires of the world. The nickname “The billionaire Gucci Master !!!” it is not a title given to Abbas by Forbesbut rather a detailed Snapchat contact name in the FBI’s affidavit.

Loved and respected

Ramon Abbas is a Nigerian influencer with over 2.5 million followers on Instagram. Known to his fans as hushpuppi, Abbas created a global following by posting photos of his lavish spending on cars, watches, designer clothes and private jets. However, in late June, the 37-year-old was arrested in Dubai, and arrived in the United States on July 3 to face criminal charges for charges of making “hundreds of millions of dollars” from scams and other commercial email scams. .

Last week Abbas’s attorney Gal Pissetzky said Forbes that his client is: “Absolutely not guilty [the] accusations they are accusing him of, “describing Abbas as” an entrepreneur “who legitimately earned his money through” real estate “and his work” promotes brands “such as” Instagram personality “.

At the hearing, Pissetzky told the court that his client did not present flight risks because of the damage it would cause to his online credibility. Adding “He is loved and respected. He is a celebrity. He would not want to ruin his credibility and status rather than stay here and face these accusations. “

Adding support to the claim that Abbas pays for his lifestyle by promoting design products on social media, Pissetzky said: “Mr. Abbas is an Instagram character. A personality on social media. Obviously it arises with high-priced items because that’s what you get paid to do. This is what he built from very poor in Nigeria, he was able to develop into this well-known personality with millions of followers on Instagram. He’s an influencer – that’s what my kids would call him – an influencer. And people see it with these Louis Vuitton bags or clothes, or Gucci bags and clothes, or these fancy cars and they go and want it. They want to buy it. Today is a job. As difficult as it is to imagine, it is a full-time job. “

Pissetzky did not mention the “hushpuppi” claim on the Instagram feed that Abbas works as a “real estate developer”.

Pissetzky argued that Abbas’s lifestyle social media images are used as more implicit evidence of wrongdoing, rather than the actual evidence of wrongdoing presented by the FBI in the sworn statement. On the staggering sums, Abbas is accused of money laundering in the FBI charges, his lawyer says “[Abbas] he does not have millions of dollars and his bank accounts will confirm that he does not [amount of money]. Adding: “No money was seized from him. Yes, he lived in a nice apartment in Dubai does not mean that he is a criminal. He didn’t hack anyone. He didn’t steal information from anyone. “

The case continues.

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