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How Dubai SWAT team took down Hushpuppi, 11 others after stealing N168b, defrauding 1.9 million people


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THE Dubai Special Weapons And Tactics Unit (SWAT), Police have revealed how they uncovered a fraud plan worth of Dh1.6 billion (N168billion), involving a Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Raymoni Igbalode, popularly known as Hushpuppi.

In a video shared by the police on Twitter on Thursday, the six-man team SWAT that carried out the operation explained how they arrested Hushpuppi alongside one Olalekan Jacob Ponle, known as Woodberry, and ten others.

The operation titled Fox Hunt 2 enabled the arrest of the suspects for crimes committed outside the UAE, including money laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, impersonation, scamming individuals, banking fraud and identity theft.

Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, a Lt-General  and Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police, said the arrest of the suspects was another achievement for the police in ensuring the Emirate’s security and safety.

“Similar to operation ‘Fox Hunt 1’ that took down an African gang of nine online scammers last February, ‘Fox Hunt 2’ is another effective action against cybercriminals who try to mess with the world’s security and safety,” Al Marri said.

It will be recalled that Dubai Police in February, also foiled an attack of gang of nine fraudsters specialised in cyber crime after they had run 81 fake business across 18 countries around the world. The operation was tagged “Fox Hunt 1″

According to Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Major-General and Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation, the suspects were caught in a series of synchronised raids by six SWAT teams.

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“The operation was carried out in a highly professional manner in terms of planning and execution as well as setting a zero hour to take down all gang members in the same time,” Al Mansouri.

“The arrest of ‘Hushpuppi’,’Woodberry’ and 10 gang members involved in money laundry & cyber fraud activities, is another achievement added to the proud record of Dubai police in ensuring the emirate’s security and safety.”

The Fox Hunt 2 video shared by the Police revealed how the gang had 119,580 “fraud files” as well as addresses of more than 1.92 million victims.

Along with 13 luxury cars, valued at an estimated Dh25m ($6.8m), police confiscated 21 computers and 47 smartphones.

Police said in the video that email addresses for 800,000 potential victims were discovered, and that the gang could have scammed as much as Dh1.6 billion from victims.

Few days after the arrest of Hushpuppi and his gang, The ICIR made series of attempts to gather information by reaching out to International Criminal Police Organization ( Interpol) and  the Dubai Police.

On June 6, 2020 this newspaper reached out to the Interpol at its UAE office via an email to verify the earlier reported story about the arrest of the accused but the Interpol referred the enquiry to the UAE authorities.

On the same day, the Dubai Police Authority was contacted via an email. The police also referred The ICIR to the General Department of its Criminal Investigations Unit.
After contacting the Criminal Investigation Unit, on June 15, 2020, the authority responded and forwarded the request to the appropriate office and suggested The ICIR contact three office telephone lines for further action in case there was no response.
However, as of the time of filing this report, there was no response from the Dubai Authority and the calls put to the three lines were unsuccessful.
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