Trial of socialite, Ramon Abbas better known as Hushpuppi, who is facing wire fraud charges in the United States has been suspended till 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the chambers orders of Judge Otis Wright released September 23, the jury trial will continue by 9:00 a.m. on May 4, 2021.
Across the globe, the respiratory disease has been contracted by over 35 million people and has killed more than 1 million persons.
Apart from the economic challenges the pandemic has posed as a result of lockdown and some restrictions, it has affected judicial processes globally.
In June, the 37-year-old known for flaunting his wealthy lifestyle on Instagram, was in the news following his arrest by special operatives of the Emerati police and American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Dubai.
FBI, according to an affidavit, alleged that Hushpuppi financed this opulent lifestyle through dubious means, which his counsel has denied.
He is alleged to be the leader of a mafia that facilitates computer intrusion, Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud and money laundering.
The agency said Hushpuppi’s targeted victims, majorly in the US, had been defrauded of over $168 billion, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club.
In July, Mr Abbas alongside Olalekan Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, was extradited to Chicago in the United States where he was first arraigned.
However, because the US Court in Illinois does not have jurisdiction over the case, he was transferred to Los Angeles, a city in California, where his trial will commence.
At the pre-trial services, he pleaded not guilty to the four-count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracies, international money laundering and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
Also, the suspected fraudster has pleaded that he should be prosecuted with complaint and not indictment. This he did by filing a waiver of indictment accepted by the court.
A complaint is the statement of the law enforcement agents containing essential facts of the offenses.
On the other hand, to obtain an indictment, a prosecutor must present proposed charges to a grand jury – a body of jurors that investigates crimes and decides whether charges should be filed.
If convicted, the Instagram celebrity might spend 20 years in US federal prison.