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Hushpuppi’s trial postponed again till next year



The stalled trial of Ramon Abbas, the Nigerian Instagram celebrity, known as Hushpuppi has been postponed in California till May 2021, reports indicated yesterday.

Hushpuppi, who was extradited to the United States from Dubai in July, is facing strong criminal charges alleging he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams.

The alleged scams included schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an English Premier League soccer club.

Premium Times reported today that Judge Otis Wright has scheduled Hushpuppie’s jury trial for 9:00 a.m. on May 4, 2021. Judge Wright made the order on 23 September.

The trial was expected to begin this month, but was rescheduled because of coronavirus. The 37-year-old Mr Abbas, was busted in Dubai in June by UAE police, working in collaboration with the FBI.

In July, Mr Abbas alongside another Nigerian fraud suspect Olalekan Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, was extradited to Chicago, where he was first arraigned.

He was later transferred to Los Angeles, in California, where his trial will commence. According to an FBI affidavit supporting Abbas’s extradition to the US, the FBI said Abbas financed this opulent lifestyle through crime, and that he is one of the leaders of a transnational network that facilitates computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes (including BEC schemes), and money laundering, targeting victims around the world in schemes designed to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.” according to the affidavit.

The affidavit describes BEC schemes as often involving a computer hacker gaining unauthorized access to a business’ email account, blocking or redirecting communications to and/or from that email account, and then using the compromised email account or a separate fraudulent email account to communicate with personnel from a victim company and to attempt to trick them into making an unauthorized wire transfer.

“BEC schemes are one of the most difficult cybercrimes we encounter as they typically involve a coordinated group of con artists scattered around the world who have experience with computer hacking and exploiting the international financial system,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna.

The affidavit alleges that Abbas and others committed a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019. Abbas and co-conspirators allegedly tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring money intended for the client’s real estate refinancing to a bank account that was controlled by Abbas and the co-conspirators.

The affidavit also alleges that Abbas conspired to launder funds stolen in a $14.7 million cyber-heist from a foreign financial institution in February 2019, in which the stolen money was sent to bank accounts around the world. Abbas allegedly provided a co-conspirator with two bank accounts in Europe that Abbas anticipated each would receive €5 million (about $5.6 million) of the fraudulently obtained funds.Abbas and others further conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club, the complaint alleges.

If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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#14thHeadies: Fireboy, Omah Lay, Bad Boy Tims win first-ever award [See list of winners]



The 2021 Headies Awards is virtual (of course) this year with great performances from BBNaija 2020 winner, Laycon, alongside, DJ Neptuneand Joeboy, Fireboy DML, the Cavemen and many others.

The Headies is one of the most anticipated & glamourous music award ceremonies many looked forward to. From all the glitz & glam from the special red carpet reception, the memorable appearances from performing artiste to announcing the winners, attendees were definitelyprepared for an interesting indulgence of undiluted entertainment.

The Headies celebrates the best in music with incredible and historic wins. Some of your faves celebrities, like Wizkid, Falz, Pheelz, Simi and Mayorkun, picked up golden statues for performances in the year’s best music.

Bovi and Nancy Isime hosted the ceremony, which kicked off on Sunday night.

Fireboy DML secured several awards, including bigs wins for Best Pop Album and Best R&B single.

For a full list of the winners, see below.

Producer of The Year

Pheelz – Billionaire by Teni

Best Vocal Performance (Female)

Niniola – Addicted

Best Vocal Performance (Male)

Praiz – Under The Sky

Best Street Hop Artiste

Mayorkun – Geng

Rookie of The Year

Bad Boy Tims – MJ

Best Pop Single

Nobody – DJ Neptune feat Joe Boy and Mr Eazi

Best Collabo

Ladipoe and Simi – Know you

Best Alternative song

Moelogo – I wonder

Best Rap Single

Falz – Bop Daddy feat. MS Banks

Best R&B Album

Fireboy DML – Tears, laughter and goosebumps

Best Alternative Album

Roots – The Cavemen

Next Rated

Omah -Lay

Viewers Choice Award


Songwriter of the Year

Simi – Duduke

Best Pop Award

Fireboy – Apollo

Lyricist on The Roll

Ilbliss Goretti – Country

African Artiste Recognition Award

Master KG

Headies Hall of Fame

King Sunny Ade

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Universal Music Group to expand operations in Nigeria

Universal Music Group has announced an African expansion to include Nigeria and a few other countries in the continent.



Global Music publishing giant, Universal Music Group, has announced plans to expand operations in Africa in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya in 2021.

This was disclosed by the group’s regional CEO, Sipho Dlamini, in a Bloomberg report on Monday. The CEO also revealed that Universal Music had opened an office in Ivory Coast to tap into the francophone music scene.

“We are thinking long term and looking to build lasting infrastructure in order to support African talent for years to come,” Dlamini said. “We want to expand the possibilities for that talent to reach new audiences around the world.”

Universal Music plans to take advantage of the large music and tech adoption by younger Africans in a bid to secure streaming revenue. The CEO also revealed that Universal, just like its rival Sony, plans to sign more African musicians and also build more recording infrastructure for the continent for a wider reach.

Bloomberg disclosed that the recorded music revenues in Africa and the Middle East had totalled $100 million in 2019.

“There has never been a more exciting time for African music around the world, as it continues to influence and inspire culture and creativity, while reaching a wider audience globally each day through streaming,” Dlamini said.

The CEO added that Universal Music was also working with major African Telco operators including g MTN Group Ltd, Vodacom Group Ltd, and Orange SA in a bid to boost its operations in the continent.

What you should know 

  • The plan to expand operations does not come as a surprise, as Nigerian musicians recorded success in 2020 due to streaming.
  • It was reported last month that David Adedeji Adeleke, better known as Davido, revealed that his third studio album had surpassed 213.2 million streams across all platforms in a month.
  • Nigerian Afrobeats star, Oluwatosin Ajibade, popularly known as Mr Eaziannounced an experimental plan for his music fans and investors to buy shares in his songs.
  • It was reported in July that Mr Eazi raised $20 million for his Africa Music Fund (AMF) to invest in the careers of African music talents.
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Lil Wayne sued by former manager for more than $20M over past earnings



Lil Wayne has been sued by his former manager Ronald Sweeney for more than $20 million over past earnings.

According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Lil Wayne hired Sweeney in 2005 to help him negotiate his contract with Birdman’s Cash Money over their years-long legal dispute, which was ultimately settled back in 2018 with Sweeney’s help.

However, the lawyer says he was not fully compensated for his work in the Cash Money deal.

According to Sweeney, the rapper asked him to fire his then-manager Cortez Bryant, paving the way for him to take over the manager role at the rapper’s request.

The suit claims Wayne raised his commission fees from 10 percent to 17 percent, but Bryant and rapper/music executive Mack Maine “conspired to drive a wedge between the rapper and Sweeney.”

The attorney says the efforts paid off, as Lil Wayne fired him in September 2018.

This lawsuit comes about two years after Lil Wayne sued Sweeney for $20 million, claiming his ex-attorney/manager was unfairly charging him 10 percent for every deal he helped close, which is much higher than the industry standard of 5 percent.

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