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Federal Court Orders Binance to Disclose Names and Details of its Nigerian Users to EFCC

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered Binance Holdings Limited to furnish the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with details regarding Nigerian users trading on its platform.

Justice Emeka Nwite granted the interim order after considering an ex parte motion presented by the EFCC, represented by Ekele Iheanacho.

The motion, labelled FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024, was filed under various sections of the Economic and Financial Crimes Establishment Act, the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, and the court’s inherent powers.

In an affidavit, Hamma Bello, an EFCC operative, affirmed that the agency’s Special Investigation Team, in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser, uncovered potential illicit activities, including money laundering and terrorism financing, on the Binance platform.

He elaborated that the investigation revealed significant market distortions and currency devaluation due to activities such as price manipulation.

Bello’s words: “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 Nigerians on their platform.

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

“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.”

The EFCC further emphasized the urgency of obtaining user data from Binance to facilitate its ongoing investigations.

Ruling in favour of EFCC’s request, Judge Nwite stated:

“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”.

The Court order follows recent efforts to crack down on cryptocurrency in the country. Nigeria has previously pressed Binance for information on its top 100 users and all transaction history for the past six months. Asides exiting the Nigerian market and delisting Nigeria’s local currency (NGN) from its platform, Binance has remained unfazed by the government’s intense scrutiny.

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