Lawyer to disgraced Instagram influencer, Ramon Abbas, better known as ‘Hushpuppi’ to his 2.5m Instagram followers has told the BBC that his client was kidnapped by the FBI from Dubai.
Hushpuppi is currently in the US awaiting trial for money laundering.
Ramon Olorunwa Abbas – known to his 2.5 million Instagram followers as Ray Hushpuppi – and another cyber-heist suspect Olalekan Jacob Ponle (aka Mr Woodberry) were arrested in Dubai, where they lived, in June.
They then appeared in a Chicago court on 3 July.
The United Arab Emirates has no extradition treaty with the United States but Dubai police said they had been extradited to the US.
A spokesman for the US Department of Justice told the BBC that Hushpuppi was expelled from Dubai and was not extradited. He did not answer how he ended up in US custody.
Mr Abbas’ lawyer Gal Pissetzky told the BBC that his client, who posts on Instagram about his extravagant lifestyle, was not a criminal and had made his money legitimately.
“He is a social media influencer with millions of followers, with millions of people that respect and loved him, and he loved them, and that’s what he did. In today’s society, that’s a business,” he said.
Mr Pissetzky admits that he is not “100% familiar” with social media and his children consider him too old but he knows “that’s how people make money today”.