The United States Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California has alleged Abba Kyari, the Head of the Inspector-General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team, was paid bribes by Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi to arrest and detain an estranged ‘co-conspirator,’ Chibuzo Vincent.
In a statement released on Wednesday by the court titled, ‘Six Indicted in International Scheme to Defraud Qatari School Founder and then Launder over $1 Million in Illicit Proceeds’, the US Attorney Office stated that Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police was used to harass Vincent after a disagreement broke out between the co-conspirators of the scam
The indictment states that “Court documents outline a dispute among members of the conspiracy, which allegedly prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas [Hushpuppi] and Juma were engaged in fraud. After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46, of Nigeria.
“According to the affidavit, Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest. Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.”
The court indictment also stated that Hushpuppi, who pleaded guilty to various charges, including money laundering, wire fraud, and felony, among others, allegedly conspired with five others — including Vincent — to defraud a businessperson in Qatar by claiming to be consultants and bankers who could facilitate a loan to finance the construction of a school.
Hushpuppi’s associates are 40-year-old Vincent, Yusuf Anifowoshe, 26; Rukayat Fashola, 28; and Bolatito Agbabiaka, 34; from Nigeria; and 28-year-old Abdulrahman Juma from Kenya.
Court documents revealed that Juma allegedly posed as a facilitator and consultant for the illusory bank loans, while Hushpuppi played the role of ‘Malik’, a Wells Fargo banker in New York, according to court documents.
“Vincent, in turn, allegedly provided support for the false narratives fed to the victim by, among other things, creating bogus documents and arranging for the creation of a fake bank website and phone banking line,” it read.
Hushpuppi and the five others allegedly defrauded the victim of more than $1.1m and laundered the proceeds of the fraud in several ways, the document noted.
“Approximately $230,000 of the stolen funds allegedly were used to purchase a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand-delivered to Abbas in Dubai and subsequently appeared in Hushpuppi’s social media posts.”
However, in response to the US Attorney Office statement in the US, Kyari, on his verified Facebook page, stated that Hushpuppi called his office some two years ago and reported a death threat from someone.
“Abbas who we later came to know as Hushpuppi called our office about two years ago that somebody in Nigeria seriously threatened to kill his family here in Nigeria and he sent the person’s Phone number and pleaded we take action before the Person attacks his family.
“We traced and arrested the suspect and after investigations, we discovered there wasn’t an actual threat to anyone’s life and they are longtime friends who have money issues between them hence we released the suspect on bail to go and he was not taken to any jail.
“Nobody demanded a kobo from Abbas Hushpuppi. Our focus was to save people’s lives that were purported to have been threatened.
“Later, he saw some of my native clothes and caps on my social media page and he said he likes them and he was connected to the person selling the clothes and he sent about N300k directly to the person’s account. The Native Clothes and Caps (5 sets) were brought to our office and he sent somebody to collect them in our office.
“Nobody demanded any money from Abbas Hushpuppi and nobody collected any money from him. We responded to a distress call he made on a threat to his family and released the suspect when we discovered there was no life threat from the suspect. This is the true story. Vincent is alive, he can be contacted,” Kyari stated
While Hushpuppi was arrested in Dubai in June 2020 alongside 12 associates, Anifowoshe, Fashola and Agbabiaka were arrested in New York and New Jersey on July 22, 2021.
The other three are expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles in August 2021.
In a plea agreement document, signed by Hushpuppi; his lawyer, Loius Shapiro; and Acting United States Attorney, Tracy Wilkison, and others, Hushpuppi pleaded guilty as charged.
It stated that Hushpuppi risks “20 years’ imprisonment; three years of supervised release; a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offence.”
The document, however, did not mention the date of the plea hearing.
When Hushpuppi and his gang were busted, the Dubai Police said it discovered that fraud amounting to 1.6 billion Dirham (N168 billion) had been committed by the gang while it was stated that about 1,926,400 people from different parts of the world have been defrauded by the gang.
13 luxury cars estimated at 35 million Dirham (N3.7bn) were recovered from the house where they were arrested. The Dubai Police later handed Hushpuppi and others over to the FBI in the US where they were investigated and arraigned on charges of conspiracy