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Court Orders Binance to Release Data of Nigerian Users to EFCC

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

The court issued this order following an ex-parte motion filed by the EFCC, seeking information on Nigerians engaged in trading activities on Binance.

The lawsuit, identified as FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024 and dated February 29, was filed by the anti-graft agency under 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).

In an affidavit supporting the motion, an EFCC operative named Hamma Bello stated that the commission's Special Investigation Team, situated in the Office of the National Security Adviser, received intelligence indicating money laundering and terrorism financing activities on Binance.

The team initiated an investigation by monitoring the platform's activities and discovered users involved in price manipulation, causing significant market distortions that devalued the Naira against other currencies.

Bello noted that Binance's actions had negatively impacted the country's currency value. The EFCC communicated these findings to Binance, requesting the delisting of the Naira and disclosure of Nigerian users' activities.

Binance's data revealed that Nigerian trading volume in 2023 amounted to $21.6 billion, as evidenced in Exhibit EFCC 1.

The court ruling, issued on February 29 and reviewed by journalists on Monday, granted the EFCC's request for comprehensive data on Nigerian traders using Binance.

Binance is an online cryptocurrency exchange platform. The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, disclosed at a press briefing that over $26 billion had flowed through Binance without trace in the past year.

Financial Times reported on February 28 that two Binance executives were detained upon arrival in Nigeria due to a website ban. 

On March 12, 2024, the EFCC requested data on Binance's top 100 Nigerian users and six months of transaction history, marking a focal point in negotiations between Binance and Nigeria.

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