Interpol arrested a 28-year-old Nigerian national who is believed to be part of a cybercrime ring involved in phishing scams, internet scams and money laundering to the tune of R192 million (about ₦4,782,378,061).
The man is accused of swindling dozens of US citizens out of millions of dollars from South Africa, via email and text messages.
James Junior Aliyu was arrested at an upmarket estate in Sandton, Johannesburg on Wednesday, following a string operation by Interpol and the police. He appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on the same day.
National police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said members of Interpol’s National Crime Bureau (NCB) in Pretoria and the police’s Gauteng Highway Patrol Unit swooped in on the upmarket estate where they effected the arrest.
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“His arrest follows a widespread investigation involving law enforcement authorities from South Africa and the United States of America,” Mathe added.
Authorities in the USA, where the investigation originated and most of the victims live, have applied for his extradition. The case has been postponed to Tuesday.
In July 2021, Nigerian influencer Ramon Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, pleaded guilty to money laundering in a US court. He and several others were found to have targeted multiple victims and laundered the funds in banks all over the world. Abbas was considered a key role player in a cybercrime network that ran a range of schemes, including transferring hundreds of millions of dollars from a foreign financial institution and defrauding a US law firm.
He was arrested in Dubai.