INSTAGRAM star Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, who went by the name Hushpuppi, was “kidnapped” by the FBI to face a US money laundering trial, according to a claim from his lawyer.
Abbas, a 37-year-old Instagram influencer who often shared photos of an extremely lavish lifestyle, was arrested in the United Arab Emirates last month for allegedly conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars in some sort of cyber scam.
Instagram influencer ‘Hushpuppi’ often shared photos of his lavish lifestyleCredit: Instagram / @hushpuppi
His lawyer is claiming the FBI ‘kidnapped’ HushpuppiCredit: Instagram / @hushpuppi
His arrest came after a lengthy FBI investigation, according to reports.
Abbas’ lawyer is now claiming that he is innocent, and that he was “kidnapped” from Dubai by the FBI, according to The BBC.
“In my opinion, the FBI and the government here acted illegally when they kidnapped him from Dubai without any legal process to do so,” Abbas’ lawyer Gal Pissetzky said.
The FBI said they believe Hushpuppi funds his lavish lifestyle through crimeCredit: Instagram / @hushpuppi
“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,” Pissetzky added.
Abbas is accused of leading a transnational network of cybercriminals who have targeted a US law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League football club, according to the BBC.
The influencer was allegedly involved in email scams, which attempted to steal personal information from people or trick them into sending money into the wrong account.
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In court documents, the US Department of Justice alleged: “Abbas maintains social media accounts that frequently showed him in designer clothes, wearing expensive watches and posing in or with luxury cars and charter jets.
“The FBI’s investigation has revealed that Abbas finances this opulent lifestyle through crime.”
However, Pissetzky claims that his client earned his money by monetizing on his large social media presence. His Hushpuppi Instagram account does have 2.5million followers.
The lawyer reportedly refused to tell the BBC how he was being paid for his legal services or the source of Abbas’ income.