Federal High Court Grants EFCC Order to Track Nigerians Transacting on Binance in Money Laundering Probe | #NwokeukwuMascot

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 The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, ordered Binance Holdings Limited to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with comprehensive information regarding all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform. The court’s decision came in response to an ex parte motion filed by the EFCC, which sought details about Nigerians engaging in transactions on Binance.

The lawsuit, bearing the case number FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024 and dated 29 February, was initiated in accordance with sections 6(b), (h), (i), 7(1), (a)(2), and 38 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act, 2004, as well as Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 (as amended).

In support of the motion, an affidavit by Hamma Bello, an EFCC operative, revealed that the commission’s Special Investigation Team, based in the Office of the National Security Adviser, had received intelligence indicating that Binance was being used for money laundering and terrorism financing. Bello noted, “Upon receiving the intelligence, the team initiated an investigation that included surveillance of the platform’s activities. This investigation identified users exploiting the platform for price discovery, confirmation, and market manipulation, leading to significant market distortions and contributing to the devaluation of the naira against other currencies.”

He further explained that the platform’s operators were informed of the damage caused and were requested to delist the Naira and provide the ONSA with information on the activities of Nigerians on their platform.

Bello highlighted that data provided by Binance indicated that trading volume from Nigeria in 2023 alone amounted to $21.6 billion, underscoring the significance of the information requested by the EFCC for their investigation.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in the certified true copy of the ruling dated 29 February but only made available to journalists on Monday, granted the EFCC’s request.

He declared, “The applicant’s application, dated and filed on 29 February 2024, is hereby approved as requested. An order of this honourable court is made, directing Binance’s operators to supply the commission with comprehensive data/information concerning all Nigerian traders on its platform.”

At a press briefing following the 293rd meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee in Abuja in February, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, revealed that over $26 billion had been moved through Binance without traceability in the past year. Additionally, the Financial Times reported on 28 February that two company executives were arrested and detained upon their arrival in the country, following a ban on their website.

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