African Gists

Ahead of his sentencing, Instagram bows to FBI’s concerns, chases Hushpuppi out of its platform – Instablog9ja

The verified Instagram account of suspected Internet fraudster, Abbas Ramoni popularly known as Hushpuppi, has been deactivated by Meta, the parent company of the platform.

Hushpuppi was arrested in Dubai by agents of the Dubai Police and US Federal Bureau of Investigations in June 2020 alongside 12 others over allegations bordering on hacking, impersonation, [email protected], banking [email protected], identity theft and was extradited to the US for prosecution.

Prior to his arrest, Hushpuppi showed off his flamboyant lifestyle via his page. A quick search shows that the handle has been deactivated as it did not come up among the results seen.

It would be recalled that in July 2020, FBI Special Agent Andrew Innocenti in an affidavit, had connected Hushpuppi’s Snapchat and Instagram handles in FBI documents relating to the case, to establish a case gainst him. He noted that Hushpuppi’s Instagram page with over 2 million followers, was filled with hundreds of pictures of Abbas posing with luxury cars, designer clothes and private jets.

However on September 8, the Federal Bureau of Investigation noted, with concern, the thriving followership on Hushpuppi’s Instagram. In court documents, they said, “As of the date of this filing, defendant’s Instagram account @hushpuppi has 2.8 million followers, approximately 500,000 more followers than at the time of his arrest in Dubai. His last post, a photograph of a white Rolls Royce Cullinan from June 6, 2020, has over 100,000 comments, many lionizing him, with some posted today.” The bureau mirrored the prosecutors’ stance on Mr Abbas’s influence on social media.

Led by Khaldoun Shobaki, prosecutors said Mr Abass “has made a living and cultivated a following by using his ill-gotten gains to create an extravagant lifestyle.” Hushpuppi’s page deletion is coming days before his sentence hearing scheduled for November 7, 2022.