Court Orders Binance To Give Nigerian Users' Data To EFCC

By order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Binance Holdings Limited is obligated to furnish the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with comprehensive information regarding individuals trading from Nigeria on its platform.

The court’s decision, prompted by an ex-parte motion from the EFCC, compels Binance to furnish details regarding Nigerians conducting trades on its platform.

According to the anti-graft agency, the suit bearing the reference FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024 and dated February 29, was filed pursuant to specific provisions outlined in the Economic and Financial Crimes Establishment Act, 2004, and the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 (as amended).

Hamma Bello, an EFCC operative, stated in the affidavit accompanying the motion that the commission’s Special Investigation Team, under the jurisdiction of the Office of the National Security Adviser, was alerted to potential money laundering and terrorism financing activities occurring on Binance.

He said, “The Special Investigation Team of the commission domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser received an intelligence stating the nefarious activities (money laundering and terrorism financing) on Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

“That 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”

Read also: Binance To Put Naira Transactions On Hold

Bello also said the team uncovered some users whose activities on Binance resulted in the country’s currency losing its value against other currencies.

He said, “That 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 values against other currencies.

“That 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 on the activities of the Nigerians on their platform.

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

“Attached and marked as Exhibit EFCC 1 is a copy of the document from Binance to the ONSA stating this fact amongst others.

“That the commission will ensure that investigation is conducted within such reasonable time,”

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

According to a 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.

Nwite 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 functions as a digital platform enabling users to engage in the trading of various cryptocurrencies.

Speaking at a press briefing following the 293rd meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee in Abuja on February, Olayemi Cardoso, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, revealed that over $26 billion had flowed through Binance over the past year without leaving any discernible trail.

According to a report by the Financial Times on February 28, two executives of the company were apprehended and held in custody upon their arrival in the country due to a prohibition on their website.

The Financial Times reported on March 12, 2024, that the EFCC has requested Binance to provide data on its 100 highest-volume users in Nigeria, along with complete transaction histories spanning the last six months. This request forms a focal point in the ongoing negotiations between Binance and Nigeria, as outlined in the report.

Africa Today News, New York 

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