Ramon Abbas, better known as ‘Hushpuppi’ has been indicted by federal prosecutors in the United States on a new charge of money laundering, amidst his ongoing trial for a variety of cyber fraud.
The Nigerian national was charged alongside a Canadian-American Ghaleb Alaumary – both of whom were accused of allegedly laundering millions of dollars for three North Korean hackers Jon Chang Hyok, Kim Il and Park Jin Hyok, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement on February 17.
The justice department disclosed that Alaumary who had owned up to the crime “was a prolific money launderer” with great expertise in various forms of online heists.
“Alaumary also conspired with Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, aka ‘Ray Hushpuppi,’ and others to launder funds from a North Korean-perpetrated cyber-enabled heist from a Maltese bank in February 2019,” the U.S. department for justice added in its statement.
The North Korean computer programmers are facing charges for cyberattacks allegedly resulting in the theft of “more than $1.3 billion of money and cryptocurrency from financial institutions and companies.”
Last June, Hushpuppi, an Instagram sensation, was arrested in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates by police in that country for money-laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, criminal impersonating, scamming individuals, banking fraud and identity theft committed outside the UAE, authorities said.
In July, the Nigerian was extradited to Chicago in the United States alongside fellow compatriot Olalekan Ponle (Woodberry) where he was first arraigned. The case was subsequently transferred to Los Angeles, in California on grounds of jurisdiction.
Hushpuppi, who is currently being held in the custody of the U.S. Marshal in federal prison, faces up to 20 years imprisonment if convicted.
The Central District Court of California deferred his trial until May 2021, citing recommendations by public health experts from the Centers for Disease control as a result of the COVID–19 pandemic.