Court orders Binance to release names, transaction details of Nigerian users

ABUJA- The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has ordered Binance Holdings Limited to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with comprehensive information on all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.

Justice Emeka Nwite granted the interim order after ruling on the ex parte motion moved by the EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho.

“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 judge ordered.

The interim order enabled the anti-graft agency to unravel the alleged money laundering and terrorism financing on Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange platform.

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).

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 cryptocurrency exchange platform.

Mr Bello added that upon receipt of the intelligence, the team began investigating by surveilling the platform’s activities.

He stated, “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 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.”

Mr Bello, who said 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 refusing the request would largely hamper the commission’s investigation.

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.

(NAN)

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