Alleged fraudster Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi has been denied a bail attempt in the US after the judge remained unconvinced on how he paid his $10,000 rent apartment in Dubai.
Hushpuppi was arrested in Dubai and taken to US where he’s facing multiple charges including laundering millions of dollars from crimes, cyber heists, frauds and an attempt to cheat an English Premier league club out of £100 million (Dh461.1m/$125.5m).
Hushpuppi and his lawyers appeared in a video court in Chicago last Thursday, where his lawyers claimed his job as an Instagram celebrity paid for the $10,000 monthly rent on his luxury Dubai flat to the unconvinced judge.
His lawyers applied for him to leave jail with an electronic tag and live with the uncle of a woman with whom the Instagram star had a child, the court was told.
Prosecutors said he could commit crimes with just a smartphone and an internet connection, and that he posed too much of a flight risk.
Hushpuppi’s lead counsel, Gal Pissetzky, said his client had too much to lose to flee the country as he’s an important figure acknowledged on social media.
“He is loved and respected. He is a celebrity,” he told a judge in Chicago by videolink.
“I don’t see the reason why he would want to ruin his credibility in the world and his status rather than stay here and face this allegation.
“Anywhere he goes, people will know.”
Having grown up very poor in Nigeria, Mr Abbas is now paid to pose with high-priced items such as Louis Vuitton bags that people would buy after seeing his posts on Instagram, Mr Pissetzky said.
“He is an influencer,” he said. “That’s a job today, as much as it is hard to imagine. That’s a full-time job.”
Judge Jeffrey Gilbert, denied bail for Mr Abbas, who watched proceedings from a prison video link.
Mr Gilbert said he was satisfied that Mr Abbas was a flight risk and he would remain in custody until he was taken to a court in California.
“You’ve got to be doing something to pay $10,000 for an apartment in Dubai,” he said.
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READ: How Hushpuppi's Saga Has Dented Nigeria's Reputation - Abike Dabiri-Erewa
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