High Court orders Binance to release Nigerians' information to EFCC to aid in ongoing investigation

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March 18, 2024
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2 min read
fintech compliance

The news: 

  • A Federal High Court in Abuja has directed Binance Holdings Limited to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with detailed information about all Nigerians who trade on its cryptocurrency platform.
  • Justice Emeka Nwite gave the directive in an interim ruling he delivered on February 29, 2024, following an ex-parte motion the anti-graft agency filed against the cryptocurrency exchange platform. 
  • In his ruling, Justice Emeka Nwite approved the EFCC's request.

The judge ruled that “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.”

In the motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024, the EFCC's lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho, stated that some elements of criminality have been linked to Binance operations in the country, in violation of several sections of the EFCC Act, 2004 and Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 (as amended).

An ex-parte motion is one in which only one party is present, and the defence or suspect is not given prior notice of the motion, preventing them from presenting an argument. 

According to an affidavit deposed by EFCC operative Hamma Bello, the Commission is conducting an ongoing investigation based on intelligence received about alleged nefarious activities on the cryptocurrency exchange platform, such as money laundering and terrorist financing.  

“On receipt of the Intelligence, the team began the investigation by conducting surveillance of the activities of the platform,” Bello explained. 

He stated that the EFCC team discovered users who had been using the cryptocurrency platform for illegal activities such as price discovery, confirmation, and market manipulation, all of which had resulted in significant distortions in the foreign exchange market and further devalued the Naira against other currencies.

The commission maintained that the negative effects of these activities on the Nigerian economy were communicated to Binance operators, leading to the request to delist Naira from its trading platform

It requested the crypto platform to provide the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) with information on Nigerians' activities on their platform.

The EFCC attached a copy of the document (marked Exhibit EFCC 1) that the ONSA received from Binance, which shows that Nigeria's total trading volume in 2023 will be $21.6 billion.

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The EFCC promised to conclude its investigation soon.


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