Lawyers representing Ramon Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, in the fraud and money laundering proceedings in the United States have filed to withdraw from his case.
The lawyers announced their decision after months of negotiations with the U.S. government. Gal Pissetzky and Vicki Podberesky said Mr Abbass stopped communicating with them and has now retained new lawyers to defend him in the case.
In June 2020, the 37-year-old Nigerian was arrested in Dubai by special operatives, including Emerati police officers and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operatives for allegedly being the leader of a mafia behind computer intrusion, business email compromise (BEC) fraud and money laundering. He duped his victims, who are majorly in the U.S, of hundreds of millions of dollars, the FBI said
Mr. Pissetzky, a top Chicago lawyer, was initially hired to defend the 37-year-old. But due to the transfer of Mr Abbass to Los Angeles and his inability to practises outside Chicago, the lawyer was retained as a record counsel.
As a result, Mr Abbass hired Ms Podberesky, a California-based criminal defence lawyer, as his local counsel.
Mr Pissetzky and Ms Podberesky recently filed a motion at the United States District Court in California to withdraw from representing Mr Abass.
In the application dated January 21, Mr Pissetzky, who claimed to have been negotiating with the government over the case, said Mr Abass suddenly stopped communicating with him.
He said the lack of communication has created a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship to the point where he believed that Mr Abbas deliberately chose to stop talking to them.
However, on January 21, Mr Pissetzky said he received a telephone call from Mr Abbas, informing him of the decision to retain a new counsel.
“He informed me that he is retaining new counsel. I informed him that I and Ms. Podberesky were moving to withdraw given his refusal to communicate and cooperate with us,” the lawyer added.
The lawyers’ application for withdrawal will be heard by the court on February 22.