Nigerian Instagram star held in Dubai over £350m cyberscam
29 Jun 2020

A Nigerian influencer who attracted millions of followers by posting selfies from private jets and photographs of his collections of luxury cars, shoes and watches has been arrested amid claims of a £350 million cyberscam.

Officers from the FBI and Interpol seized more than £30 million in cash when they swooped on the Dubai apartment of Raymond Abbas, 38, as he slept. Investigators say the Instagram star, known to his fans as Hushpuppi, had projected a billionaire, jet-setting lifestyle to help to “lure victims from all over the world”.

Twelve others were arrested in co-ordinated raids for their alleged parts in a complex online racket. Investigators are believed to have found the email addresses of nearly two million victims on dozens of phones, computers and hard drives taken from the gang during the operation. A fleet of luxury cars was also seized, along with suitcases stuffed with cash.

“The suspects targeted victims overseas by creating fake websites for well-known companies and banks in a bid to steal victims’ credit card information and then launder the stolen money,” Brigadier Jamal al-Jalaf, of Dubai Police CID, said.

Mr Abbas, who once posted a video of himself throwing $100 bills as confetti at a wedding, is also accused of committing fraud in Europe, America and Nigeria, police said.

By Jane Flanagan, The Times, 29 June 2020

Read more at The Times

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