Our Washington reporter│ 10 July 2020 │ 11:00
Gal Pissetzky, the lawyer representing a Nigerian Instagram star Ramon Olorunwa Abbas aka “Hushpuppi” claims his client was either illegally arrested or kidnapped in Dubai.
Following six special police raid operations in Dubai, Hushpuppi was arrested by the Dubai Police Force alongside 11 Nigerian residents last month, including another cyber-heist suspect Olalekan Jacob Ponle (aka Mr Woodberry).
During the raid, Dubai police reportedly seized more than $40 million in cash and other valuable items.
Abbas, 37, was extradited from the UAE to the US to face criminal charges for allegedly conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through online heists, according to a criminal complaint lodged in a US federal court last month.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) accuses Hushpuppi of frauds known as Business Email Compromise (BEC) and other scams.
Mr Abbas had his first court appearance in Chicago on July 3 and the case continues in Los Angeles in the coming weeks,
Mr Pissetzky seeks to be convinced that his client was legally arrested by the FBI. According to him, there were no legal steps taken to arrest his client, there were no court documents filed, there was no extradition.
Mr Abbas is not a citizen of the United States, raising the question as to why the FBI should be called in. The United Arab Emirates has no extradition treaty with the United States, despite the claim that he was extradited to the US.
Abbas has reportedly been a well-known second-hand clothes street trader in Lagos. He later became a social media celebrity known for flaunting his opulent lifestyle to over two million Instagram followers.