The police authorities in Dubai have shared footage of how Hushpuppi, a Nigerian Instagram celebrity, was busted in a special operation on allegations of cyber-fraud involving huge money.
Hushpuppi, whose real name is Raymond Igbalode, was arrested on June 10, alongside his gang of 11 other Nigerians, including Olalekan Ponle, better known as Woodbery.
The suspects were arrested for alleged crimes committed outside the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including money laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, impersonation, scamming individuals, banking fraud and identity theft worth Dh1.6 billion (an estimated N168 billion).
It is understood that about 1,926,400 victims were targeted by the syndicate.
Their arrest followed an intense tracking by a special operation dubbed “Fox Hunt 2”, in an investigation that took less than four months and prompted a series of synchronised raids by the police on the suspects’ different residences while they were asleep.
Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Dubai police assistant commander-in-chief for criminal investigation affairs, said that six SWAT teams raided the locations of the gang during zero hour.
“The operation was carried out in a highly professional manner to net all gang members. ‘Fox Hunt2’ foiled the gang’s bid to deceive many victims across the world as they were planning to obtain their money,” he said.
Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Dubai police director of criminal investigation department, said the operation revealed how the gang hacked corporate emails and sent fake emails to corporate customers to change money transfers to their personal banking accounts.
“They were designing and mimicking company and bank websites to steal credit card data and illegally obtain victims’ money before laundering the cash,” he said.
Al Jallaf said the police also seized several incriminating documents linked to the “well-planned international cyber-fraud”.
“The forged documents pertained to online fraud outside the country. The fraud was worth more than Dh1.6 billion. We seized more than Dh150 million in cash from them and confiscated 13 luxury cars worth Dh25 million,” he added.
Other items seized during the operation include: “21 computers, 47 smartphones, 15 memory cards, five hard disks containing 119,580 fraud files as well as addresses of nearly two million victims.”
The development comes days after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), described Hushpuppi, as “Nigeria’s most-wanted hacker.”