EFCC gets judgement to track Nigerians transacting on Binance

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The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, ordered Binance Holdings Limited to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with comprehensive information on all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.

The court handed down the order following an ex parte motion filed by the EFCC demanding information about Nigerians trading on Binance.

The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024 and dated February 29 according to the anti-graft agency was brought pursuant to sections 6(b), (h), (I), 7(1), (a)(2), and 38 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Establishment Act, 2004 and Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 (as amended).

In the affidavit filed in support of the motion an operative of the EFCC, Hamma Bello, stated that the Special Investigation Team of the commission domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser received intelligence that money laundering and terrorism financing were carried out on Binance.

He said, “On receipt of the Intelligence, the team began an investigation by conducting surveillance of the activities of the platform.

“The team uncovered users who have been using the platform for price discovery, confirmation and market manipulation which has caused tremendous distortions in the market, resulting in the naira losing its value against other currencies.

“The damage the platform has caused was clearly explained to the operators of the platform and they were requested to delist the Naira and avail the ONSA of the activities of the Nigerians on their platform.

“The information afforded to the team by Binance shows trading volume from Nigeria in 2023 alone stood at $21.6bn.”

Bello stated that the requested data would help the commission to complete its investigation.

In the certified true copy of the ruling, which was delivered on February 29 but sighted by journalists on Monday, Justice Emeka Nwite granted the interim order.

He said, “The applicant’s application dated and filed 29th February 2024, is hereby granted as prayed.

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing the operators of Binance to provide the commission with comprehensive data/information relating to all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.”

Binance is an online exchange where users can trade cryptocurrencies.

The  Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, at a press briefing after the 293rd meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee in Abuja on February, disclosed that more than $26bn was channeled through  Binance without traces in the last one year.

Financial Times had on February 28 reported that two executives of the company were arrested and detained after they flew into the country as a result of a ban on their website.

Source: The Punch

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