A suspected cybercrime kingpin James Aliyu, has been arrested in a luxury Sandton estate, in South Africa, by opetatives of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).
Aliyu, a Nigerian national was arrested on Wednesday in connection with almost R196m in alleged romance scam and business email compromise fraud.
He was arraigned before a Randburg magistrate’s court shortly after his arrest.
According to a report by Times Live, Aliyu who is popular in South African social circles, is well-known on Instagram following his lavish holidays and excessive spending on luxury items for him and his girlfriend.
His audacious social media posts where he flaunts his wealth have gained him 17,000 followers on his Instagram account Oldsoldier.
Security sources said, after an almost six-year-long investigation into his activities, he was arrested based on a multi-agency investigation that included Interpol, the US department of homeland security investigations and the US Secret Service.
Sources, who described Aliyu as a major player, said he has allegedly been in contact with several major convicted and suspected fraudsters from around the world.
Among the fleet of luxury vehicles he allegedly bought with the proceeds of fraud were a Porche Cayenne, a Mercedes C220d and a Mercedes-Benz G Class luxury SUV. His social media profiles also depict him on luxury island resorts and luxury holidays in Dubai and the US.
Aliyu is believed to be part of an international syndicate, some of whose members have already been convicted in the US.
He came into the spotlight in August 2021, when Sunday World reported that he accused South African actress, Khanyi Mbau’s boyfriend Terrence Kudzai Mushonga of defrauding him in an elaborate luxury R1.2m-vehicle scam.
The Sunday World, quoted him to have said that he was “wanted by the FBI for scamming Americans millions of rand.”
According to the report, Aliyu believed a R720,000 Mercedes and a R500,000 Jaguar which he bought from Mushonga were stolen and hijacked by criminals he claimed had worked for Mushonga.
In March 2020, the SA Reserve Bank confiscated R231,000 contained in Aliyu’s Standard Bank account under Exchange Control Regulation 22E.
Aliyu is expected to appear in the Randburg magistrate’s court on Tuesday, where proceedings for his extradition for trial in the US are expected to start.