Nigerian socialite, Ramon Abbas popularly known as Hushpuppi who is on trial in the United States for business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other crimes has hired a top-rated criminal defence lawyer Loius Shapiro as his attorney.

The appointment is due to the withdrawal of Gal Pissetzky and Vicki Podberesky as Hushpuppi’s lawyers after months of negotiations with the US government.

Read also: Fraud Charges: Hushpuppi Laundered Funds For North Korean Hackers, Says US Department Of Justice

A court order on February 25 approved Mr Shapiro as the Nigerian’s new defence counsel. Shapiro was once a deputy public defender in Los Angeles County, Premium Times reports.

He is also considered as one of the top criminal defence attorneys in Los Angeles as he regularly trains new attorneys in the “most effective approaches and methods to handling criminal law matters.”

Read also: Fraud Charges: US lawyers Defending Hushpuppi Leaves Him

The US Department of Justice in its new findings accused Hushpuppi of working with North Korean hackers to launder funds stolen from a Maltese bank in February 2019.

The department said the cyberattacks were aimed at stealing and extorting more than $1.3 billion of money and cryptocurrency from financial institutions and companies.

Hushpuppi was arrested in June 2020 in the United Arab Emirates and extradited to the US alongside his associate Olalekan Ponle popularly known as Woodberry to face allegations of money laundering running into millions of dollars.

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