Binance,

Court orders Binance to furnish EFCC

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued an order directing Binance Holdings Limited to furnish the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with comprehensive information regarding all individuals from Nigeria engaging in trading activities on its platform.

The court’s decision was reached through an ex-parte motion filed by the EFCC, seeking information about Nigerian traders on Binance.

The suit, identified as FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024 and dated February 29, was initiated by the anti-graft agency in accordance with Sections 6(b), (h), (I), 7(1), (a)(2), and 38 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Establishment Act, 2004, as well as Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 (as amended).

In an affidavit supporting the motion, deposed to by EFCC operative Hamma Bello, it was stated that the Special Investigation Team of the commission, operating within the Office of the National Security Adviser, received intelligence suggesting that money laundering and terrorism financing activities were being conducted through Binance.

He said, “The Special Investigation Team of the commission domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser received an intelligence report 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.”

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 value 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 of 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 and information relating to all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.”

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