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Hushpuppi’s bail attempt fails in the US

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Suspected Nigerian fraudster Ramon Abbas failed to win bail in the US after his lawyers claimed his job as an Instagram celebrity paid for the $10,000 monthly rent on his luxury Dubai flat.

Mr Abbas, 37, known to millions on social media as Hushpuppi, was arrested in Dubai and taken to the US.

There he is accused of laundering millions of dollars from crimes including cyber heists, frauds and an attempt to cheat an English Premier league club out of £100 million (Dh461.1m/$125.5m)

Mr Abbas appeared by video in a Chicago court on Thursday, where his lawyers applied for him to leave jail with an electronic tag and live with the uncle of a woman with whom the Instagram star had a child, the court was told.

Prosecutors said he could commit crimes with just a smartphone and an internet connection, and that he posed too much of a flight risk.

Mr Abbas, who was identified on phone contacts with an alleged conspirator as Billionaire Gucci Master, lived in the five-star Palazzo Versace hotel in Dubai, wore high-end clothing and posed with luxury cars and private jets.

He has been accused of being the money-launderer for a gang involved in hacking corporate emails and directing huge payments to accounts they controlled.

But Mr Abbas’s lawyer, Gal Pissetzky, said his client had too much to lose to flee the country.

“He is loved and respected. He is a celebrity,” he told a judge in Chicago by videolink.

“I don’t see the reason why he would want to ruin his credibility in the world and his status rather than stay here and face this allegation.

“Anywhere he goes, people will know.”

Having grown up very poor in Nigeria, Mr Abbas is now paid to pose with high-priced items such as Louis Vuitton bags that people would buy after seeing his posts on Instagram, Mr Pissetzky said.

“He is an influencer,” he said. “That’s a job today, as much as it is hard to imagine. That’s a full-time job.”

Judge Jeffrey Gilbert, denied bail for Mr Abbas, who watched proceedings from a prison video link.

Mr Gilbert said he was satisfied that Mr Abbas was a flight risk and he would remain in custody until he was taken to a court in California.

“You’ve got to be doing something to pay $10,000 for an apartment in Dubai,” he said.

Source: thenational.ae

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Rocky Dawuni describes himself as ‘John the Baptist’ and one who is paving way for Ghanaian musicians

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Ghanaian singer, songwriter/ record producer and three-time nominee for Grammy awards, Rocky Dawuni has referred to himself as ‘John the Baptist’ and a vessel God is using to open doors for other Ghanaian artists to enter the international music space. (more…)

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Christian Atsu rescued successfully and receiving treatment- GFA confirms

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Ghanaian Footballer, Christian Atsu has reportedly being rescued and is receiving treatment after he was caught in the rubble of a collapsed building caused by an earthquake that has hit Turkey, Lebanon and Syria. (more…)

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President Buhari congratulates Tems on her Grammy win

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Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has celebrated his country folk, Tems on her Grammy win over the weekend. (more…)

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Diddy denies “sabotaging” Burna Boy’s Grammy win as speculated

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American Rapper/Record Producer, Sean Combs, popularly known as P Diddy has responded to claims that he sabotaged Burna Boy’s Grammy win. (more…)

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Bisa Kdei working on a new song with UK rapper Ivorian Doll

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Ghanaian highlife singer, Bisa Kdei has shared photos of himself working in a studio with British rapper Vanessa Mahi, popularly known as Ivorian Doll. (more…)

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Showmax calls for pitches for 10 live action films from first-time African filmmakers

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On the opening day of The Joburg Film Festival, Showmax released an open commissioning brief to the African film industry calling for pitches for a slate of 10 live action films.
The African streamer has won the South African Film and Television Awards’ Made-for-TV Movie Award for two years in a row, first with Loving Thokoza and then with Boxing Day, the first two feature films from Mandla N. In addition, another Showmax film, Kelsey Egan’s debut feature, Glasshouse, was the most awarded feature film overall at the SAFTAs last year, with five Golden Horns.
The new brief, in partnership with the Joburg Film Festival, is aimed at finding new talent and opening up the industry. The proposals must have a first draft screenplay and be set in contemporary Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa, with a first-time director attached who is a resident or citizen in those countries. All official Ghanaian, Kenyan, Nigerian and South African languages are welcome and the final films should be more than 40m, in line with the SAFTAs Best Made-for-TV Movie Award category.
“Showmax’s audience prefers local content, with seven of the ten most streamed titles in South Africa, eight of the top 10 titles in Kenya and Nigeria, and nine of the top 10 in Ghana last year being African,” says Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax and Connected Video at MultiChoice. “Making your first film is a key turning point in any director’s career. So this brief is another way we are trying to empower local filmmakers to tell their own stories for their own communities in their own languages. We’re looking for authentic stories that will resonate with our local audiences. Popular genres like romcoms, family dramas and thrillers are always welcome.”
Submissions are now open on https://submissions.mnetcorporate.co.za/channel/showmax; entries close on 1 April 2023. The selected projects will be announced in the second half of 2023 and screened on Showmax in 50 countries across sub-Saharan Africa in 2024.
Pitches should take the form of a video pitch in English of no more than five minutes. This video pitch should include short bios of the writer, director and producer; a concise summary of the story, including the ending; an introduction to your lead characters; and a discussion of your chosen genre and stylistic approach, with visual references.
For inspiration, watch Mandla N’s Showmax x Actor Spaces directing masterclass here:
For more about Joburg Film Festival, visit www.joburgfilmfestival.co.za.
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