Welcome to the world of Ramoni Abass, popularly known as Hushpuppi, who commands relentless fawning and obsequiousness from celebrities and millions of Nigerians, LANRE ALFRED reports
Obscene opulence, raw wealth, and flagrant flamboyance seep through the Instagram page of Hushpuppi, the young man also known as ‘Gucci billionaire’. He is not modest about his vast fortune. He displays it for the world to see through his fast cars – regarded as one of the most expensive in Dubai – his rock-star globetrotting to the most idyllic locations in the world and designer wears. Unfortunately for him, he was arrested by Dubai Police on June 10.
The 38-year-old was referred to the Dubai public prosecution and is currently being questioned by prosecutors at the Bur Dubai section. He’s charged with “obtaining money from others through fraudulent means.” Security officers in the emirate arrested Hushppupi and 12 others for online fraud that targets companies and individuals.
“They would send out letters from email addresses almost identical to those of legitimate companies, targeting customers of these companies, with the purpose of diverting payments to themselves,” said a senior prosecutor.
Some of his most recent pictures before the arrest, showed him lean against a snow-white 2020 Rolls Royce Cullinan. Another picture that exemplifies his luxury lifestyle sees him stand in the middle of three luxury cars – Ferrari, Bentley, and Maybach Benz.
Hushpuppi fancies expensive champagnes and cognacs and buys them in clubs whether in Dubai or Abu Dhabi in tray-loads. Whichever club he appears, he makes it rain drinks and money. And ladies love him for his generosity and living la vida loca lifestyle while many men kowtow before him for living their wildest fantasies.
Without doubt, Ray Hushpuppi, the extravagant Dubai-based socialite mastered the art of living large and loud to the awe and admiration of mere mortals but he didn’t learn what it means to walk alone, down an abyss where there is no end in sight or friends, hangers-on, and a fawning fandom to cheer him on. He must be learning that now especially since he was arrested by the Dubai police, alongside his partner, otherwise known as Mr. Woodyberry, over their involvement in alleged multiple scams.
The Dubai police had reportedly been on the trail of Hushpuppi, particularly, for some time due largely to his mysterious wealth and obscene flamboyance on Instagram. An avid user of the photo and video-sharing social networking service where he had morphed into an influencer of sort and recently celebrated hitting two million followers, he gleefully posted the kind of luxury legitimate money makers would not allow the world to see. His excuse was “I post a few of these things so that someone can see my page someday and decide not to give up.” Many of Nigeria’s male and female celebrities openly courted and fawned over his page, liking and commenting on his posts while literally tripping over themselves to be noticed by the young moneyman.
For many Nigerian socialites, politicians, and celebrities, Hushpuppi was the go-to guy to explore and enjoy optimally the Dubai nightlife. Whenever Hushpuppi went to the club, whether in Lagos or Dubai or anywhere in the world, he made it rain with expensive champagnes and cognacs and he usually had for a company some of the finest species of the womenfolk flown from all over the world. Of a truth, he came to national consciousness when he blew N11 million on drinks at the popular Quilox Nite Club owned by Shina Peller, now a member of the House of Representatives. He became the toast of high society and top society ladies and celebrities therefrom.
Over time, he had hosted in Dubai, where he made a home, among other top Nigerians, Senator Dino Melaye, Davido, Wizkid, and others. He had also been seen in pictures with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who is also living in Dubai. He and Davido were quite close and pictures of them abound on the internet. In fact, at Davido’s brother’s wedding in Dubai recently, Hushpuppi was seen spraying $100 notes like it was going out of fashion while cavorting with guests like a member of the family. Same Davido, like many other celebrities and bootlickers, has unfollowed him on Instagram.
From a young man who used to hawk second-hand clothes all over mainland Lagos to a jet-setting King of designer apparels. His relocation to Dubai many years back opened him up to a higher level of social exploration. From Dubai to Greece and everywhere else with sandy beaches, poplar-lined esplanades, and beautiful women, always there in his full glory. So much that some of his best companies were white women. And he was never coy or had scruples about showing off his life on the fast lane, especially those with champagne-ridden boat cruises.
Yes, Hushpuppi enjoyed a lavish lifestyle that included international trips by private jets, relentless supplies of designer apparel and footwear, gourmet meals at expensive restaurants, and permanent residency at the Palazzo Versace, Dubai. He acquired the money habit and lived life to the fullest.
It was either Diamond-crusted Hublot, Patek Phillippe, Rolex or Richard Mille wristwatches or nothing and he once got himself a piece of the latter for a princely $150,000. This is aside from his bespoke black badge Rolls Royce Wraith and a Bentley Bentayga he bought to celebrate Valentine 2019. Three months after, he bought himself an S650 Maybach just because he wanted to.
When he flew to the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix last November, it was in a chartered helicopter, saying, “My driver already waiting with my Rolls Royce and some bad bitches in my Ferrari too.”
Some months earlier, he had posted on IG as always, “(I) had a helicopter pull up on my Mykonos villa to take me and some supermodels to Scorpios where the party (is) at. Arab money don’t stress.” Mykonos is known as the Ibiza of Greece as it is famous for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and lively nightlife. It is also famous for its vast array of whitewashed churches, shops, museums, and other structures that date back to the 16th century.
So much was he into designer brands that Louis Vuitton officially invited him for the Virgil Abloh SS20 fashion show in Paris. He counted among his very good friends Abloh, the top-rated American fashion designer. He was, according to him, the only black person invited by Fendi to its fashion show in Rome, Italy, in 2018. Hushpuppi wrote about the experience.
“Last night was really amazing for me,” he had written, “not just because I was invited by Fendi to dine with a lot of amazing, strong societal giants and strong personalities but also the fact that people of my kind from a dark and blurry background from the slums can get here on this level, not only make it out of the hood but also be able to integrate from the streets to the corporate world which I know I am not the only one who has made it enough to be able to achieve this but a lot of people who made it only still care about being a champion in the street and the hood.
“For me, I know I was not created to be a champion in a local market and I know for a fact I have been inspiring a lot of people not just from Africa but every part of the world on how to live life better and more greatly in the fashion world. I have been able to expose a lot of people to see the light (You all are welcome lol) and I hope someday I will be inspiring more young people to join me on this path.
“Being the only black person that was invited there last night, I hope to see many of you black kings and queens in this type of gatherings next time and not just in those your little gossip, hating on each other gatherings.”
If convicted, Hushpuppi may be gone for a long time, signalling an end to the reign of a young man whose insatiable appetite for luxury living and source of wealth remains the stuff of legend in contemporary Nigeria.