The police in Dubai said on Thursday that they recovered over 150 million dirhams (about N16 billion) in cash during a coordinated raid on the apartments of Nigerians living in that city two weeks ago.
Ramon Abbas and Olalekan Ponle, widely known as Hushpuppi and Woodberry, respectively, and their alleged crew of 10 other Nigerians were the target of the June 10 operation tagged “Fox Hunt 2”, officials said.
All the 12 were taken into custody where they have remained ever since. Dubai prosecutors said the suspects had given statements but investigations into their alleged fraud would continue for weeks to come before they could be charged.
“We seized more than Dh150 million in cash from them and confiscated 13 luxury cars worth Dh25 million,” Dubai police chief, Jamal Salem Al Jallaf told the city’s major daily.
A video circulated online by Dubai authorities said officers confiscated 21 computers, 47 mobile phones, 15 memory sticks and five hard disks containing 119,580 in alleged fraud files.
A total of 1,926,400 victims were said to have been targeted by the syndicate in a scheme that spanned several months.
13 luxury cars estimated to be worth over 25 million dirhams (N2.6 billion) were also seized from the gang.
They were accused of being involved in business email compromise and other forms of Internet fraud.
The raid has been touted by Emirati authorities as a major breakthrough in their fight against cybercrimes. Thousands of Nigerians are suspected to be part of loose syndicates operating across Dubai and other parts of the United Arab Emirates.
The disclosure from Dubai authorities came as Nigerian law enforcement officials and their American counterparts continued to push for the custody of Hushpuppi and his associates from Emirate authorities, with both countries claiming to have enough grounds to prosecute the suspects.
Most of the victims were believed to be from the United States and Europe, although it was unclear whether Emirati nationals or residents were also swindled.