Two suspected Nigerian internet fraudsters, Ramon Abbas and Olalekan Ponle, widely known as Hushpuppi and Woodberry respectively, have been extradited to the United States, officials have said.
The Dubai police disclosed this in a statement posted on Twitter, on Thursday.
Hushpuppi and Woodberry were arrested in the United Arab Emirate on June 10, for multiple fraud charges after a raid by operatives of the Dubia crime unit, titled “Fox Hunt 2”.
The Dubai police had also released a video detailing how the arrest was effected.
It was revealed in the video that Hushpuppi had defrauded thousands of victims of about N168 billion. The police also stated that they recovered 150 million dirhams cash (about N16 billion)during the coordinated raids.
According to the statement, the Director Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray, thanked the Dubai authorities for their cooperation in arresting and extraditing the suspects.
— Dubai Policeشرطة دبي (@DubaiPoliceHQ) July 2, 2020
Mr Wray said, “FBI thanks Dubai Police for arresting and extraditing Hushpuppi and Woodberry,” the statement revealed.
“The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray has praised the exceptional efforts exerted by the United Arab Emirate, represented by the Dubai Police General HQ, in combating transnational organised cybercrime including the recent arrest of Raymond Igbalode Abbas, known as “Hushpuppi” and Olalekan Jacob Ponle aka “Woodberry” who were taken down in operation “Fox Hunt 2”.
Mr Wray also extended his appreciation to Dubai Police for their cooperation in extraditing the wanted criminals, who committed money-laundering and multiple cybercrimes, to the United States, the statement highlighted.
“The suspects were caught in a series of synchronised raids by six SWAT teams from Dubai Police who foiled the gang’s bid to deceive many people from around the world and steal their money,” the statement said.
The director of Dubai CID, Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, said the raid resulted in confiscating incriminating documents of a planned fraud on a global scale worth AED 1.6 billion ($ 435 million).
“The team also seized more than AED 150 million ($40.9 million) in cash, 13 luxury cars with an estimated value of AED 25 million ($6.8 million) obtained from fraud crimes, and confiscated 21 computer devices, 47 smartphones, 15 memory sticks, five hard disks containing 119,580 fraud files as well as addresses of 1,926,400 victims”, he said.
“After conducting further investigations and analysing confiscated electronic devices, Dubai Police investigators uncovered sensitive information mined by the suspects on individuals and companies overseas including bank accounts and fake credit cards as well as documents and files condemning the gangs’ illegal activities.”
Hushpuppi joins a list of high-profile Nigerians to be arrested so far in 2020. He was arrested months after several other Nigerians, including Obinwanne Okeke and Ismaila Mompha; who were arrested in August and October 2019 respectively, for their alleged roles in separate multinational fraud.
Hushpuppi, who has over two million followers on Instagram, is known for his display of luxury on social media.
In the wake of his arrest, sources had told PREMIUM TIMES about a custody battle for him between Nigerian and U.S. officials.