Gal Pissetzky, lawyer to alleged international fraudster, Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi, says his client is not a fraudster.
In an interview with Forbes, Pissetzky said Hushpuppi ran legitimate businesses including real estate.
Gistnaija.ng had earlier reported that the 37-year-old was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and extradited to US to face cyber crime charges.
The Dubai police revealed that upon the arrest of Hushpuppi and 12 other members of his crew, it discovered that fraud amounting to 1.6 billion Dirham (N168 billion) had been committed by the gang.
No fewer than 1,926,400 people from different parts of the world were also said to have fallen victims to the suspects.
According to the police, 13 luxury cars, estimated at 35 million Dirham (N3.7 billion) were recovered from the house where they were arrested.
The Dubai police later handed him over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States where he had since been arraigned on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, among others.
Amongst other charges, the FBI alleged that Hushpuppi attempted to dupe an English Premier League football club of £100m (N48.4bn).
The allegation is contained in an affidavit deposed to by FBI Special Agent, Andre Innocenti, who is assigned to the Los Angeles Field Office Hi-Tech Organised Crime Squad.
The affidavit read in part, “Abbas and others further conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club.”
The FBI further stated that should Hushpuppi be convicted, he risks spending 20 years in jail.
However, while speaking with Forbes, Hushpuppi’s legal representative said his client is “Absolutely not guilty of (the) charges they are accusing him of,” adding, “(he) was running a legitimate business and a very legitimate Instagram account and did not take part in any scam or fraud.”
Asked how Abbas paid for his lifestyle, Pissetzky said, “He’s an entrepreneur. He has real estate involvement … (he’s) an Instagram personality. He was promoting brands and that’s how he was very legitimately making his money.”
Hushpuppi had secured the service of Pissetzky, a top criminal defence attorney in Chicago and senior partner at law firm, Pissetzky & Berliner, to help extricate him from multi-million dollar fraud charges levelled against him by American authorities.
Pissetzky made the first appearance on behalf of Abbas at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on July 6, documents showed.
He was called to the bar in 2002 and has practiced in Chicago since 2002. His firm’s website said he has been retained in high-profile cases and also widely recognised by major American media outlets as a legal consultant on serious criminal matters