A few days after he was extradited to the United States from Dubai, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, a.k.a Hushpuppi, made his first court appearance where he was charged with accusations ranging from money laundering to participating in business email compromise (BEC) schemes targeting a US law firm, an English Premier League side, and a foreign bank.
In a report released by the U.S Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, Hushpuppi is accused of conspiring “to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club.”
As written in the affidavit report, “The FBI’s investigation has revealed that Abbas finances this opulent lifestyle through crime, and that he is one of the leaders of a transnational network that facilitates computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes (including BEC schemes), and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Jesse Baker, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Los Angles Field Office, described the hunt for Hushpuppi as “a challenging case, one that spanned international boundaries, traditional financial systems and the digital sphere,” and its success depended on partnerships between the Department of Justice and other federal law enforcement agents.
Hushpuppi is accused of stealing $922,857 in October last year from a client of a New York-based law firm through another BEC scheme.
“Abbas and co-conspirators allegedly tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring money intended for the client’s real estate refinancing to a bank account that was controlled by Abbas and the co-conspirators,” the report stated.
He is also accused of conspiracy to launder funds stolen in a $14.7 Million cyber-heist from a foreign financial services firm in February 2019. Hushpuppi allegedly provided the co-conspirators with 2 bank accounts in Europe, anticipating to receive €5 million each.
If he is found guilty of money laundering and other related crimes, he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in a federal prison.
UPDATED: Fire outbreak at World Trade Centre, Abuja
A fire outbreak has been reported at the rooftop of the World Trade Centre in Abuja.
This was disclosed in a report from ChannelsTV, which stated that an official of the company, Mr Ibukun Adeogun said that the fire occurred at about 11.30 a.m.
At least three fire service trucks were deployed to contain the fire, which Mr. Adeogun explained did not cause any damage.
An eyewitness explained that the fire started from the top of the skyscraper which dots the skyline of Central Business District, Abuja as smoke billowed from the pinnacle.
Adeogun added that the fire had been extinguished by high-pressure sprinklers in the building.
He said, “There was a minor fire outbreak at one of the floors close to the top floor near the shaft. The building is a high-tech building and the sprinklers put out the fire.
“Because the fire occurred close to the top floor and the extraction system was on the roof, smoke was coming out even after the fire had been extinguished.”
St Kitts and Nevis addresses Hushpuppi’s citizenship
Ms. Chapman married Hushpuppi in October 2018 granting him access to their citizenship.
The government of the St. Kitts and Nevis announced in a statement that Nigerian alleged fraudster did not obtain his citizenship through investment program but by virtue of marriage to a Shawana Nakesia Chapman.
“The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has become aware of reports and rumors concerning the Federation’s citizenship of a Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, allegedly a person of interest to the United States FBI”
“We note that the Nigeria-born Mr. Abbas, 37, was granted a St. Kitts and Nevis passport in February 2020 by virtue of his marriage to Shawana Nakesia Chapman, 32, a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis by birth and the United States of America,” they announced.
They said Ms. Chapman married Hushpuppi in October 2018 granting him access to their citizenship and is also a resident of North Carolina, USA, and revealed that its citizenship by investment programme includes “rigorous background checks”.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment and second passport program in 1984 is the oldest fast-track citizenship program. It grants Visa-free access to 141 countries including the United States, UK , and all Schengen States. It also is ranked as the 32nd strongest passport in the world.
The program costs $150,000 to the St. Kitts Sustainable Growth Fund for a single individual and $195,000 for a family of 4 or an investment of $400,000 in real estate.
The FBI accuses Hushpuppi of being the leader to a transnational network that “facilitates computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes (including BEC schemes), and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Explosions: Three fuel tankers up in flames on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
Two tankers went up in flames, affecting another tanker and a trailer.
Following the multiple explosions caused by the collision of fuel tankers at Kara bridge on Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Sunday morning, passengers and motorists have been stranded for hours.
It was gathered that two tankers ladened with petroleum products were involved in an accident in the early hours of today.
The two tankers, which went up in flames, affected another tanker and a trailer.
While the men of the Federal Fire Service have started rescue operations, officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps have started controlling traffic which has affected movement inward Lagos.
In a statement issued, the FRSC Sector Commander, Lagos State Command, Olusegun Ogungbemide, advised motorists to seek alternative routes.
“The FRSC is admonishing motorists who have reasons to use the road should seek an alternative, for now, to allow the personnel of Fire Service on the ground to extinguish the fire.
“Alternative routes recommended for those moving out of Lagos this morning can use the Victoria Island by Ajah to Ijebu Ode to continue their journey.
“The Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway to the Sagamu Interchange is another alternative that motorists can use at the moment,” Ogungbemide stated.