Dubai police arrest Instagram ‘stars’ behind Dh1.6bn international online fraud scam

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Police said the suspects were arrested in a special operation dubbed “Fox Hunt 2” that revealed a hidden online fraud network. (Dubai Media Office)
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In a video shared by police, officers explained how they arrested Raymond Abbas, who is better known as Hushpuppi. (Dubai Media Office)
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In a video shared by police, officers explained how they arrested Raymond Abbas, who is better known as Hushpuppi. (Dubai Media Office)
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Updated 25 June 2020

Dubai police arrest Instagram ‘stars’ behind Dh1.6bn international online fraud scam

  • Dubai Police have arrested 12 cybercriminals, including Instagram celebrities “Hushpuppi” and “Woodberry”
  • The suspects were caught in a series of synchronized raids by six SWAT teams

DUBAI: Dubai Police have arrested 12 cybercriminals, including Instagram celebrities “Hushpuppi” and “Woodberry,” on allegations of fraud involving 1.6 billion dirhams ($435 million).  
Police said the suspects were arrested in a special operation dubbed “Fox Hunt 2” that revealed a hidden online fraud network that was committing crimes outside the UAE.
The crimes include money-laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, criminal impersonating and scamming individuals, police said Thursday. 
Those arrested included Raymond Abbas — known on Instagram as “Hushpuppi” — and Olalekan Jacob Ponle, who goes by the social media name Woodbery. They were arrested with 10 other suspects on allegations of fraud involving large sums of money.

Police said they seized more than 150 million dirhams in cash and confiscated 13 luxury cars. They released a video detailing how the arrest took place. 
The gang is accused of creating websites that look identical to those of well-known companies and banks. Through these platforms, people were deceived to send emails and messages that prompted them to log in or transfer payments to the gang’s bank accounts. 
Hushpuppi often posts pictures on social media with his luxury cars including a Ferrari and Rolls Royce and a private jet.
“The team has started to track the gang including Hushpuppi, who celebrated his wealth via social media platforms, under a businessman facade, in an attempt to lure victims from all over the world,” Brig. Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Director of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Dubai Police, said. 
“They were designing and mimicking company and bank websites to steal credit card data and illegally obtain victims’ money before laundering the cash,” he added.
Woodberry was also arrested along with 10 other men in an operation that involved six police teams.
The suspects were caught in a series of synchronized raids by six SWAT teams. 
Police confiscated 13 luxury cars, valued at about 25 million dirhams, 21 computers and 47 smartphones during the raid.

 


Turkish strikes kill three Kurds in Iraq

Updated 44 min 13 sec ago

Turkish strikes kill three Kurds in Iraq

  • Turkey launched a cross-border operation in mid-June against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels in northern Iraq
  • The men were killed when they stopped outside a grocery store
ERBIL, Iraq: Turkish bombardment killed three Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, a local official said Friday, as Baghdad seeks to rally support to end Ankara’s offensive on its soil.
Turkey launched a cross-border ground and air operation in mid-June against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels in the mountainous terrain of northern Iraq.
“A Turkish bombardment targeted a car in the village of Rashanki, in Dohuk province, killing three PKK fighters, and injuring a fourth who fled,” said Mushir Bashir, the local mayor, of the bombardment late Thursday.
The men, who were traveling in an off-road vehicle, were killed when they stopped outside a grocery store, he added.
The attack comes as Iraq tries to drum up support from its Arab neighbors to form a united front against Ankara’s offensive.
Turkey defends its right to bomb the PKK, which it considers to be a “terrorist” organization, and accuses Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan of not stopping the group.
Earlier this week, two senior Iraqi officers and their driver were killed in a Turkish drone strike, prompting Iraq to summon the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad for the third time in two months.
On Friday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein contacted his Bahraini and Emirati counterparts, after calling the day before the Egyptian, Jordanian, Saudi and Kuwaiti foreign ministers, as well as Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
Hussein pleaded for “a united position, forcing Turkey to withdraw its forces that have infiltrated Iraqi territory.”
Achieving that is a major challenge, analysts say.
Turkey, a major trading partner of Iraq and a regional heavyweight, has had several military posts in Iraqi Kurdistan for the past 25 years.
Now it is expanding its bases, Kurdish sources say.
The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984. It has long used the rugged terrain of northern Iraq as a rear base to wage attacks on Turkey, which in turn had set up military positions inside Iraqi territory to fight them.
Since Turkey launched its offensive in mid-June, at least five civilians have been killed.
Ankara says at least seven of its men have been killed, and the PKK and its allies have lost 14 fighters.