While the arrest of flamboyant Nigerian socialite, Ray Hushpuppi has been making the news across Nigeria and beyond, Dubai was also agog with the arrest of Amir Mekky.
Nicknamed the ‘crime boss of Dubai’, Amir Mekky is a Danish citizen residing in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
According to a report by TalKhaleeltoday.com, Amir Mekky was one of the most dangerous international gang leaders, has been arrested by Dubai’s State Security, an official said on Friday.
While Huspuppi whose real name is Ramoni Igbalode (aka Raymond Igbalodely) was arrested in connection with alleged involvement in COVID-19 stimulus package fraud in the tune of over $30 million, Amir Mekky is known for several violent crimes as well as money laundering and drug trafficking.
The website reported that Amir Mekky was arrested on June 4 after a secret intelligent operation in Dubai. This was less than six days before the arrest of Hushpuppi at his Palazzo Hotel residence.
According to the official from Dubai’s State Security, Mekky had eluded security forces across Europe and was at large for years.
Amir Faten Mekky is the leader of one of the most notorious international crime rings involved in murder, drug trafficking and money laundering, the official said in a statement.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) June 5, 2020
Mekky, was on the Interpol list and was wanted for premediated murder. All efforts to arrest him had gone in vain when he was in Europe.
The official said according to intelligence inputs, Mekky had entered the UAE in 2018.
A video shared by Dubai Media Office showed that Mekky used different IDs to move around in the city until a person throwing garbage outside his residence in Dubai came under the radar.
After thorough security checks and investigation, the person was identified as Mekky.
Special forces from Dubai State Security then swung into action and arrested Mekky at his residence in the early hours of Thursday.
According to the official, Mekky is currently being interrogated and preparations are underway to hand him over to the relevant authorities.
“The sting operation happened under exceptional circumstances due to movement restrictions in Dubai and the precautionary measures to curb COVID-19,” the official said.
“We formed a legal team in cooperation with Dubai Public Prosecution and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to issue the arrest warrant and hand him over to the concerned authorities,” the official said,
The official pointed out that the high-profile arrest of Mekky sends a clear message that Dubai will not tolerate international criminal activities even if the crimes have not been committed in the UAE.
“The operation also emphasised the UAE’s commitment to fulfill its responsibilities towards combating transnational crime,” he said.
In January, international newspapers said Mekky, 22, was on the run after escaping a raid by 120 Spanish police on his hideout in November 2018.
Police chief Marcos de Miguel, of the Costa del Sol’s organised crime unit, described Mekky as “very dangerous” after issuing a warrant for his arrest.
There are no proofs if Amir Mekky and Ray Hushpuppi were friends, gang members or close associates.
While the most popular associate who was known to have been arrested in the crackdown was Woodberry. There are indications that many more people were part of the suspects arrested in the Interpol and FBI raid.
According to a Kemi Olunloyo, a blogger and an investigative journalist based in Nigeria claimed that she knows the identities of Hushpuppi’s associates who were arrested with him.
In a Twitter post, Kemi said:
“Pac” is another Dubai based big boy and in HushPuppi’s close knit inner circle. He was arrested alongside HP. Flashy luxurious items on IG page. Real name not known. Authorities will release later.”
“Sean the Escaper was also arrested and he’s HushPuppi’s PA. He is described as a right hand man errand boy. They live together at Palazzo Versace in Dubai.”
“Mr Woodberry was arrested alongside HushPuppi as a member of his hardworking team.”
“Finally Tony Roma nickname who is also a Nigerian and also arrested with the rest of the team. All 5 men are being held at an Interpol facility in Dubai city,” she said.
Out of all the suspects arrested with Hushpuppi, Woodberry is perhaps another high profile person. He was known to be stupendously rich without a visible source of his wealth. Unlike Hushpuppi, Woodberry is less open with his wealth. However, in March of 2019, he announced that he acquired a twin collection of 2019 edition of Lamborghini Urus at over $200,000 and the 2019 Rolls Royce black badge dawn.
According to the unconfirmed charges by the Interpol, Hushpuppi’s Internet fraud gang were accused of exploiting COVID-19 benefits to scam the American government by diverting the benefits from the unemployed victims. The report alleged that the gang must have stolen over $35 million in unemployed benefits.
However, the latest reports suggested that Hushpuppi’s Internet fraud gang could have defrauded American states and taxpayers close to $100 million.
Earlier today, we reported that the Nigerian Interpol has confirmed that it will extradite Hushpuppi back to Nigeria to answer for his alleged crimes.
In an official statement credited to Head of Interpol in Nigeria, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Umar, he said:
He said: “It is true that Hushpuppi was arrested by the INTERPOL. We are currently working on bringing him to Nigeria to face charges of fraud.
“Some of the offences were committed here in Nigeria and he has to answer for them. He is not alone in it; there are accomplices in the country who we are currently on their trail,” said the CP.