HUSHPUPPI’S TRIAL IN US POSTPONED TILL NEXT YEAR – Newstrends
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HUSHPUPPI’S TRIAL IN US POSTPONED TILL NEXT YEAR

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HUSHPUPPI

The trial of a Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, has been postponed in California, United States, till May 2021.

Hushpuppi, extradited to the United States from Dubai in July, is facing criminal charges of alleged conspiracy to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams.

He was said to have been involved in scams targeting a US law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club.

If convicted, Abbas would face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

Premium Times reported that Judge Otis Wright had scheduled Hushpuppie’s jury trial for 9:00 a.m. on May 4, 2021. Judge Wright made the order on 23 September.

The trial was expected to begin this month, but was rescheduled because of coronavirus.

The 37-year-old Abbas was busted in Dubai in June by the UAE police, working in collaboration with the FBI.

In July, Abbas alongside another Nigerian fraud suspect Olalekan Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, was extradited to Chicago, where he was first arraigned.

He was later transferred to Los Angeles, in California, where his trial will commence.

According to an FBI affidavit supporting Abbas’s extradition to the US, Abbas financed 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.”

The affidavit describes BEC schemes as often involving a computer hacker gaining unauthorised access to a business’ email account, blocking or redirecting communications to and/or from that email account, and then using the compromised email account or a separate fraudulent email account to communicate with personnel from a victim company and to attempt to trick them into making an unauthorized wire.

“BEC schemes are one of the most difficult cybercrimes we encounter as they typically involve a coordinated group of con artists scattered around the world who have experience with computer hacking and exploiting the international financial system,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna.

The affidavit alleges that Abbas and others committed a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019. 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 affidavit also alleges that Abbas conspired to launder funds stolen in a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution in February 2019, in which the stolen money was sent to bank accounts around the world. Abbas allegedly provided a co-conspirator with two bank accounts in Europe that Abbas anticipated each would receive €5 million (about $5.6 million) of the fraudulently obtained funds.

It was alleged that Abbas and others further conspired 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.

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Vacate Kano now to allow peace, Arewa group tells Bayero

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Aminu Ado Bayero

Vacate Kano now to allow peace, Arewa group tells Bayero

The Arewa Social Contract Initiative on Sunday, May 26, asked the dethroned emir of Kano, Aminu Bayero, to vacate the ancient city quietly for peace to reign.

Bayero, who was dethroned alongside four other first-class emirs following the enactment of a new law, has returned to Kano and is occupying the Gidan Nasarawa palace, while Sanusi is in the main palace, a situation that is causing intense tension.

The national chairman of the Arewa Social Contract Initiative, Alh. Sani Mahmoud Darma, on Sunday, May 26, said the solution to the stalemate over the emirate tussle is for Bayero to vacate Kano.

Darma, who addressed a press conference in Kano, said all the Arewa executives from the 19 northern states had met, critically analyzed the situation, and decided that Bayero was the problem and should leave Kano.

He said: “It is very unfortunate that after his dethronement, Aminu Ado Bayero accepted the decision and packed all his belongings from the palace and left Kano state, then some people from the top brought him back and claimed his lost position.

“If he feels his dethronement was unlawfully done and he wants to reclaim it, he would have stayed somewhere and pursued it through the court. But coming back to Kano and attempting to occupy the palace is a sign that he wants to cause violence and chaos in Kano.”

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He reminded the dethroned emir to look back and recall history and accept that his sack was from God and should leave Kano immediately to avoid bloodshed.

Darma said: “This is unacceptable! It happened to Sanusi and he benefited. When Sanusi was dethroned and he (Bayero) was appointed he accepted everything in good faith and left Kano for Bayero to occupy the palace. Why is he back now that he is the victim? It shows he is still interested in the throne.

“He should congratulate Sanusi and vacate Kano immediately for peace to reign. If he is still interested in the position, he should go and stay in another state while he seeks justice from the court.”

He said the Arewa members are 100 percent strongly behind the new emir (Sanusi), because Governor Abba Yusuf, during his gubernatorial campaign, had promised the Kano people that he was going to bring back Sanusi.

The people were happy and they voted for him. What the governor has done is just a fulfillment of his promise and the people are happy about the governor’s decision because it is a long-awaited thing. So, we are (Arewa) also happy about Sanusi’s reinstatement, because he was victimised.

“What has happened is purely the decision of the State House of Assembly, the governor, the kingmakers, and the people of the state, after the old law was repealed. So, it is purely a state affair. We were even surprised when the issue of court order came about,” he said.

Vacate Kano now to allow peace, Arewa group tells Bayero

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President Tinubu arrives in Lagos for Lagos-Calabar highway flag-off

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President Tinubu arrives in Lagos for Lagos-Calabar highway flag-off

President Bola Tinubu has made a notable arrival in  Lagos to commence the flagging-off ceremony for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar highway. Welcomed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and other government dignitaries at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, President Tinubu’s presence marks a significant step forward in infrastructure development for the region.

The announcement of President Tinubu’s visit was preceded by statements from Olusegun Dada, Tinubu’s Special Assistant on Social Media, who had earlier indicated that the president would inaugurate several projects in commemoration of his first anniversary in office.

Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, had confirmed that Tinubu would initiate the construction of the Lagos-Calabar highway on May 26, emphasizing the administration’s commitment to enhancing transportation infrastructure across the nation.

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During a meeting with a delegation of Yoruba leaders of thought at the State House in  Abuja, President Tinubu reiterated his administration’s dedication to fostering tangible impacts on the lives of Nigerians. He expressed optimism about the country’s trajectory towards prosperity, highlighting the progress made during the past 12 months despite inherent challenges.

President Tinubu’s visit to  Lagos and the subsequent commencement of the Lagos-Calabar highway project underscore the administration’s commitment to accelerating socio-economic development and improving connectivity across regions.

President Tinubu arrives in Lagos for Lagos-Calabar highway flag-off

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FG drags 36 states to S’Court over local govt autonomy

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FG drags 36 states to S’Court over local govt autonomy

The federal government has sued the thirty-six governors before the Supreme Court to ensure the autonomy of the nation’s local governments.

In the suit, marked SC/CV/343/2024, was filed on May 20, by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) on behalf of the federal government.

The federal government is praying the Apex Court for an order prohibiting state governors from unilateral, arbitrary, and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected leaders for local governments.

It also prayed the Supreme Court for an order permitting the funds standing in the credits of local governments to be directly channelled to them from the federation account in line with the provisions of the Constitution as against the alleged unlawful joint accounts created by governors.

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It wanted an order stopping governors from constituting caretaker committees to run the affairs of local governments as against the constitutionally recognized and guaranteed democratic system.

Also, the federal government wants an order of injunction restraining the governors, their agents, and privies from receiving, spending or tampering with funds released from the Federation Account for the benefit of local governments when no democratically elected local government system is put in place in the states.

FG drags 36 states to S’Court over local govt autonomy

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