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Court orders Binance to release data to EFCC regarding terrorism financing allegation

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Court orders Binance to release data to EFCC regarding terrorism financing allegation

Story from Abubakar KADO

A recent court ruling at the Federal High Court, Abuja has directed Binance Holdings Limited to share detailed information related to Nigerian traders on its platform with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Emeka Nwite granted the interim order in response to an ex-parte motion presented by the EFCC’s legal representative, Ekele Iheanacho.

“The applicant’s request, dated and submitted on 29th February 2024, is approved,” Justice Nwite stated.

The court ordered Binance to supply the EFCC with comprehensive data concerning all individuals from Nigeria engaging in trading activities on its platform to aid in investigating alleged money laundering and terrorism financing through the cryptocurrency exchange.

A certified true copy of the ruling, issued on February 29, was reviewed by NAN on Monday.

READ ALSO: FG urges Binance to disclose user data amidst investigation into naira speculation

The ex-parte motion, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024, 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).

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 cryptocurrency exchange platform.

“That on receipt of the Intelligence, the team began an 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 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 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 (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 to accomplish its investigation activities.

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.

This newspaper reports that Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange that lists more than 350 cryptocurrencies globally.

In addition to cryptocurrency trading, it offers several services that enhance the experience for users and blockchain developers.

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