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Hand over “comprehensive data” of Nigerian users to FG, court orders Binance

Foremost and largest crypto exchange platform, Binance, has been ordered to release all transaction details and information of all Nigerians using the platform.

Justice Emeka Nwite of Federal High Court in Abuja granted the interim order on Monday.

The ruling is consequent upon an ex-parte motion moved by the the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho.

The ex-parte motion, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024, was filed on 29th February, 2024

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the interim order was granted to allow the anti-graft agency investigate the alleged money laundering and terrorism financing on Binance.

“The applicant’s application 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 judge ordered.

A certified true copy of the ruling, which was delivered on 29 February, was sighted by NAN on Monday.

The application was brought pursuant to Sections 6(b), (h), (I), 7(1), (a)(2), and 38 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Establishment Act, 2004 and Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 (as amended) and the inherent powers of the court.

In the affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Hamma Bello, an operative of the EFCC, he said he was attached to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the commission domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Mr Bello averred that, following the inauguration of the Technical Committee on Currency Stability and Forex Manipulation by the ONSA, the SIT “received an intelligence stating the nefarious activities (money laundering and terrorism financing) on Binance, a crypto currency exchange platform.

“That on receipt of the Intelligence, the team began investigation by conducting surveillance of the activities of the platform.

“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 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 the 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 billion (twenty one billion, six hundred million dollars).

“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, who said that the matter was of utmost urgent public interest, said the data provided would enable the commission accomplish its investigation.

He said it was in the interest of justice to grant the application as refusal of the request would largely hamper the commission’s investigation.

Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange that lists more than 350 cryptocurrencies globally

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