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How Instagram’s ‘Billionaire Gucci Master’ Sank Nigeria’s Super Cop

A money laundering case against influencer Hushpuppi also implicated Nigeria’s most famous law enforcement official, who’s now facing further allegations.

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Illustration: Randy Cano for Bloomberg Businessweek

Instagram isn’t exactly known for its fidelity to reality. It’s a place people go to curate an image of their best self, or their aspirational one. But rarely do those images obscure a darker truth to the extent they did back in 2019, in a pair of posts by two public figures from Nigeria.

On Dec. 8, Ramon Abbas, better known as @hushpuppi, Ray Hushpuppi, or the Billionaire Gucci Master, posted a photo of himself lounging on the hood of his purple Rolls-Royce. His outfit, designed by the legendary Virgil Abloh, was a sky blue shirt-and-pants set with a white cloud that appeared to float across his forearms and midriff. He’d parked the Rolls in the driveway of the Palazzo Versace Dubai, a resort-style hotel where he lived in a penthouse apartment. For Abbas, then a 37-year-old influencer who’d gone from a childhood in a poor part of Lagos to an adulthood full of private jets and celebrity friends, this sort of extremely conspicuous consumption was his brand. “I don’t believe in competition,” read the post’s caption. “You’re not me and THATS IT #LouisVuitton #OffWhite #VirgilAbloh #RollsRoyce.”