More Troubles for Binance as Court Orders it release list of top users in Nigeria

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Prominent cryptocurrency firm, Binance, has been mandated by the Federal High Court in Abuja to disclose comprehensive data regarding its top Nigerian users to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The decision, delivered by Justice Emeka Nwite, stems from an ex-parte motion presented by the EFCC’s legal counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, aimed at facilitating an investigation into purported instances of money laundering and terrorism financing within the cryptocurrency platform.

Under the interim order, Binance is obligated to provide the commission with comprehensive information pertaining to Nigerian individuals engaged in trading activities on its platform.

This ruling, issued in response to motion FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024, leveraged pertinent provisions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Establishment Act of 2004 and the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act of 2022, alongside the powers vested in the court.

An affidavit filed in support of the motion by Hamma Bello, an operative of the EFCC attached to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) domiciled within the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), outlined the initiation of investigations following intelligence reports of suspicious activities, particularly instances of money laundering and terrorism financing, on the Binance platform.

According to Bello, the SIT, prompted by intelligence received subsequent to the establishment of the Technical Committee on Currency Stability and Forex Manipulation by the ONSA, commenced surveillance of the platform’s activities, which uncovered instances of price manipulation and market distortions perpetrated by certain users.

Despite the disclosure of significant trading volumes from Nigeria, amounting to $21.6 billion in 2023 alone, Binance purportedly failed to address concerns raised by Nigerian authorities regarding the platform’s impact on the nation’s currency and financial stability.

Recall that earlier, Nigerian authorities had accused Binance of facilitating the devaluation of the national currency, prompting measures such as the restriction of access to Binance and other cryptocurrency exchanges by telecommunications providers.

Subsequently, the federal government detained two senior executives of Binance following unsuccessful negotiations aimed at resolving concerns over alleged forex trading manipulations and speculative activities.

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