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Nigerian Crook Aided North Korea Cyber Crime

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A Nigerian social-media celebrity helped North Korean hackers launder money stolen from a Maltese bank, U.S. officials said.

Ramon Olorunwa Abbas played a supporting role in cyber-scams perpetrated by three computer programmers accused of extorting more than $1.3 billion of cash and cryptocurrency, the Justice Department said on February 17.

Abbas, who is widely known as “Hushpuppi” and is in U.S. custody while awaiting trial, has 2.5 million followers on Instagram, where he regularly posted photographs posing with luxury cars or boarding private jets.

North Korean state operatives “are the world’s leading bank robbers,” John Demers, head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said, after unsealing the indictment of Jon Chang Hyok, Kim Il and Park Jin Hyok.

The trio and other unidentified North Koreans were involved in the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. in 2014 and the attempted theft of nearly $1 billion from Bangladesh’s central bank in 2016, according to the U.S. government.

More recently, the group has focused on stealing cryptocurrencies, according to prosecutors.

The hackers allegedly turned to a network including Abbas “to launder funds from a North Korean-perpetrated cyber-enabled heist” from an unidentified Maltese bank in February 2019.

The Nigerian worked with a Canadian, Ghaleb Alaumary, who U.S. officials accused of organizing teams to launder millions of dollars stolen by hacking automated teller machines, including from BankIslami in Pakistan and a bank in India, according to the Justice Department.

Alaumary, 37, began cooperating with U.S. authorities in October 2019 and secretly signed a plea agreement last November, according to court papers unsealed in Los Angeles on February 17.

Abbas was extradited in July from Dubai to the U.S. where he faces criminal charges of allegedly conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from “business email compromise” frauds and other scams. Gal Pissetzky, Abbas’s former lawyer, told Forbes magazine in July 2020 that he was “absolutely not guilty” of those charges and hadn’t taken part in in any fraud.

Pissetzky and Abbas’s other lawyer both quit the defense in January.

Alaumary, 37, began cooperating with U.S. authorities in October 2019 and secretly signed a plea agreement last November, according to court papers unsealed in Los Angeles on February 17.

Abbas was extradited in July from Dubai to the U.S. where he faces criminal charges of allegedly conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from “business email compromise” frauds and other scams. Gal Pissetzky, Abbas’s former lawyer, told Forbes magazine in July 2020 that he was “absolutely not guilty” of those charges and hadn’t taken part in any fraud.

Pissetzky and Abbas’s other lawyer both quit the defense in January. The Nigerian was part of a group that allegedly tricked a paralegal at a U.S. law firm into wiring them almost $923,000 in October 2019, according to U.S authorities.  

Abbas was extradited in July from Dubai to the U.S. where he faces criminal charges of allegedly conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from “business email compromise” frauds and other scams.

Gal Pissetzky, Abbas’s former lawyer, told Forbes magazine in July 2020 that he was “absolutely not guilty” of those charges and hadn’t taken part in in any fraud. Pissetzky and Abbas’s other lawyer both quit the defense in January.

The Nigerian was part of a group that allegedly tricked a paralegal at a U.S. law firm into wiring them almost $923,000 in October 2019, according to U.S authorities.

He and a partner also are accused of plotting to steal 100 million pounds ($125 million) from an unnamed soccer club in the English Premier League.

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Crime

Radical Genocide Denier, Idamange To Appear Before Court On Thursday

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Taarifa has learnt that Idamange Iryamugwiza Yvonne will appear before the Gasabo intermediate court this Thursday to answer several charges including inciting public disorder, resisting lawful arrest, and aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer.

She was arrested on February 15, 2021, at around 4 PM, during a joint operation between Police and Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB).

Police, upon her arrest, said that since January 31, 2021, Idamange Iryamugwiza Yvonne, 42, had “exhibited behavior that mixes politics, criminality, and madness on different media platforms. This conduct invited the attention and close scrutiny of law enforcement.”

During the arrest, the suspect allegedly used a bottle to cause head injuries to the officer who was immediately taken to Kacyiru District Hospital for medical attention.

The suspect is a popular YouTuber who claims to be an activist, but the content she publishes on her channel has caused irrational reactions including, largely, serving as a mockery to genocide survivors and negating facts surrounding the Genocide against the Tutsi, according to observers.

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Crime

Sarkozy Could Request To Be Detained At Home

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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy qualifies to request to serve his prison sentence from home, court said on Monday.

The 66-year-old Sarkozy was found guilty of corruption and abuse of office and was ultimately sentenced to a three-year prison sentence with two years suspended.

Taking into account the two years suspended, the sentence of one year jail means it is unlikely Sarkozy will physically go to prison, a punishment that in France usually applies to jail terms in excess of two years.

Sarkozy reamins free, since no arrest warrant has been issued.

Sarkozy was president of France from 2007 to 2012, would be entitled to request to be detained at home, but could be obliged to wear an electronic bracelet.

The prosecution had asked for a four-year prison term, with two years suspended. The crime of corruption of an official carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Only one other French president, Sarkozy’s political mentor Jacques Chirac, was put on trial after leaving office, but he was excused from having to attend his 2011 corruption trial because of ill health.

Sarkozy’s two co-defendants, the lawyer Thierry Herzog and former senior judge Gilbert Azibert, were also found guilty and given the same sentence as Sarkozy.

Nicolas Sarkozy will face another trial later this month along with 13 other people on charges related to the alleged illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign.

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Crime

Live: Rusesabagina’s Trial

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