A Chicago court in the Northern District of Illinois, on Monday, denied suspected fraudster Ramon Abbas Igbalode popularly known as Hushpuppi bail, stating he would remain in detention until his later this year for alleged money laundering.
During the bail hearing, the judge ruled that Abbas will be transported to Los Angeles by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Hushpuppi’s trial will now be held in Los Angeles where the case was filed, rather from Chicago where the investigation is being handled.
Abbas’ lawyer, Gal Pissetzky, had sought for his client to be allowed to stay with his girlfriend’s uncle in Homewood, Illinois.
Mr Pissetzky argued that his client was not a flight risk or a danger to the community.
But Assistant United States Attorney Melody Wells convinced the court that Abbas is a flight risk, describing his “significant” financial assets, “deep ties to foreign countries” and a lack of ties to the United States.
Wells said Abbas had the “perfect recipe to flee the charges that he faces here.”
The prosecutor said Abbas had “never visited” the girlfriend or their child in the United States and that “there is no evidence that he has ever even met this ‘uncle’ who would be the third-party custodian under these circumstances.”
Pissetzky also told the court that as a “loved and respected” person, Abbas “would not want to ruin his credibility and status rather than stay here and face these allegations.”
He said: “Mr Abbas is an Instagram personality. A social media personality. Of course, he poses with high price items because that’s what he gets paid to do. That’s what he has built from growing up very poor in Nigeria, he was able to develop himself into this very well-known personality with millions of followers on Instagram. He is an influencer — that is what my kids would call him — an influencer. And people seeing him with these Louis Vuitton bags or clothes, or Gucci bags and clothes, or these fancy cars, and they go and want it. They wanna buy it. That’s a job today. As much as it’s hard to imagine — that’s a full-time job.”
Pissetzky, was, however silent on the claim on Hushpuppi’s Instagram feed that the Nigerian works as a “real estate developer”.
Hushpuppi, who was extradited to US from Dubai last week Thursday faces trial in Los Angeles, where his case has been filed before a US District Court in Central District of California.
The 37-year-old Nigerian was arrested by the police in Dubai in June, alongside 11 persons which included another Nigerian – Olalekan Ponle – also known as Woodberry.