Hushpuppi, the now-embattled internet celebrity, once sold second-hand clothing locally called “okrika” in Lagos before hitting the limelight, a prominent British newspaper has reported.
The police authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had earlier shared footage of how Hushpuppi was busted in a special operation dubbed ‘Fox Hunt 2’ over cyber-fraud involving 1.9 million victims to the tune of N168 billion.
The 38-year-old — whose real name is Raymond Abbas — was arrested on June 10, alongside 11 Nigerians for alleged crimes committed outside the UAE, including money laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, impersonation, scamming individuals, banking fraud and identity theft.
But according to a report by Daily Mail UK, the self-acclaimed social media influencer had started out as a secondhand-clothes trader before claiming to be a billionaire property developer in Dubai.
“Mr Abbas started out as a second-hand clothes trader in Lagos before claiming to be a billionaire property developer in Dubai,” it wrote.
Although much of the claims remain unverified, it was gathered that there are also reports that his old friends, some of whom witnessed his early days, said his father was a taxi driver in Nigeria.
On Thursday, the Dubai police had extradited the alleged fraudster from the UAE to the United States not long after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had described him as “Nigeria’s most-wanted hacker.”
“The EFCC is familiar with grisly details of his money laundering transactions, involving many high-profile cybercriminals facing trial in Nigeria,” the commission had said in a statement.
“EFCC is engaging with the FBI in tracking victims of his fraudulent transactions and other fraudsters having direct involvement with him.”
Hushpuppi is known for his luxury lifestyle, which sees him flaunt expensive vehicles, dine with celebrities, and spread pictures of his glamorous home’s state-of-the-art furniture on social media.
His Instagram page, which boasts of over 2.4 million followers, consists of posts of him posing all over the world with luxury bags, a fleet of Rolls Royce’s, private jets, helicopters, yachts, posh watches and also chilling in five star hotels.
Abass, who has been accused of cyber-fraud in Europe, America and Nigeria, had once told his followers that he posts about his luxury life to inspire others to make more of their lives.
“I post a few of these things so that someone can see my page someday and decide not to give up,” he had written.
In 2019, he had made headlines after he claimed that his driver earned as much a non-fraudulent commissioner in Nigeria.
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