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The Nigerian man held in the United States for alleged multi-million dollar fraud has hired the services of a top rated Chicago lawyer, Michael Nash, to defend him in court.

Olalekan Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, alongside Ramoni Igbalode, also known as Hushpuppi, was arrested in the United Arab Emirate on June 10 for multiple fraud charges after a raid by operatives of the Dubai crime unit.

The duo were then extradited to the United States on July 2.

Mr Ponle, 29, is currently facing charges bordering on wire fraud Conspiracy at a United States District Court sitting in Illinois.

The court had since June 25 issued an arrest warrant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding Mr Ponle’s case after a criminal complaint was filed.

His first appearance in court was on July 3, after which the preliminary hearing was set for July 16 before Judge Jeffrey T Gilbert.

However, as provided by a section of the U.S. laws on the release or detention of a defendant pending trial, Mr Ponle will be remanded in the custody of the U.S. Marshal until further order of the Court.

Michael Nash

Documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES showed that Mr Nash signed the Attorney Appearance Form for Mr Ponle on July 8.

Mr Nash whose area of specialisation is Criminal Defense, has been practising for the past 55 years. He was admitted to practice law in 1965 after graduating from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

As profiled by Super Lawyers, a platform that provides details of top U.S. lawyers, he also assists clients regarding Appellate issues.

One of the notable cases handled by Mr Nash was Illinois versus Abbott & Associates, Inc. in 1983. He represented the defendants at the Appeal Court.

On Thursday, Mr Nash is saddled with the task securing Mr Ponle’s bail. If found guilty, the alleged might be liable to a jail term ranging from 20-30 years.


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