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Illegal Forex Trading: Court Grants EFCC’s Request To Freeze 1, 146 Bank Accounts

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Illegal Forex Trading: Court Grants EFCC’s Request To Freeze 1, 146 Bank Accounts

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has issued an interim order for the freezing of about 1, 146 bank accounts that were allegedly linked to unauthorized foreign exchange transactions.

The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Emeka Nwite, ordered that the identified accounts, belonging to individuals and companies, should be frozen for at least 90 days, to allow the Federal Government to conclude its investigations that they could have been used for money laundering and terrorism financing.

“It is hereby ordered as follows: That the applicant’s application is hereby granted as prayed.

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made freezing the bank accounts stated in the schedule below which accounts are owned by various individuals who are currently being investigated in a case involving the offences of unauthorised dealing in foreign exchange, money laundering and terrorism financing to the extant that the investigation will be for a period of 90 (Ninety) days,” the court held.

The order, dated April 24 but sighted by newsmen on Monday, followed an ex parte application that was brought before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The anti-graft agency had in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/543/2024, maintained that the accounts it listed in a schedule it attached to the court process, were subject of its ongoing investigations.

“That preliminary investigation conducted thus far reveals that the bank accounts are linked to persons who take advantage of the virtual crypto currency exchange platforms to illegal manipulate the value of Naira and laundering proceeds of unlawful activities.

“That there is need to preserve the funds in the identified bank accounts pending the conclusion of investigation and possible prosecution,” the EFCC added in the affidavit that was filed by its lawyer, Mr. Ekele Iheanacho.

Some of the account names the EFCC listed in the attached schedule, included: Akitoye Adeyemi Ayomide with GTBank account number; 0165110025; Clyp Trading Ltd, Titan Trust Bank account number: 0000331101; Clyp Consulting Ltd, Providous account number: 9401374554; and Toyetech Platforms Ltd, Titan Trust Bank account number: 0000134962.

Others were: Winx International Platforms Ltd, Titan Trust Bank account number: 0000135055; Shutterscore Trading Platforms Ltd, Access Bank account number: 1532363954; Tradecillion Trading Ltd, Stanbic IBTC account number: 0045672922; and Nsofor Nmamdi, GTBank account number: 0449088666

They equally include Kora Payments Network Ltd-Operations, UBA account number: 1022242089; Renderstack Technologies Ltd, Zenith Bank account number: 1210355120; Korex Payments Ltd, Globus account number: 5000007837; and Awe Microfinance Bank Ltd, Providous account number: 5400760781; and Victor Asuquo, Opay Digital Services Ltd account number: 9020132068.

As well as: Akingbade Sabit Juwon, ECONANK account number: 3442053006; Nsofor Nmamdi, Union Bank account number: 0140460572; Asuquo Samuel, First Bank account number: 3153199542; Oty Ugochukwu Stanley, FCMB account number: 4039304011; Oty & Sons Global Concepts, Fidelity Bank account number: 6060410145; and Pelumi Ayandoye, Wema Bank account number: 0234852277; and David Ajala, Fidelity Bank account number: 5090680780.

Meanwhile, Justice Nwite adjourned the matter till July 23 for mention.

It will be recalled that the court had in March, ordered Binance Holdings Limited to release to the EFCC, a comprehensive detail of all persons from Nigeria that are trading on its platform.
Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange platform that lists more than 350 digital currencies that serve as alternative form of payment, created, using encryption algorithms.

FG had asked the company to disclose its top 100 users in the country, as well as all transaction history for the past six months.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso had on February 27, disclosed that about $26billion passed through Binance from unidentified sources.

In an abrupt move on March 8, the crypto firm discontinued all transactions in naira on its exchange platform, following reports that the government demanded $10bn as retribution for profiting from “its illegal transactions” in Nigeria.

However, in an ex-parte motion it filed before the court, the EFCC said it would need a detailed data of Binance users in the country to aid its ongoing investigation on issues relating to money laundering and terrorism financing.

In a supporting affidavit that was attached to the motion, deposed to by one Hamma Bello, an operative of the EFCC, he told the court that 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 crypto currency exchange platform.”

According to him, “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).”

FG had since charged both the company and two of its top officials to court for money laundering and tax evasion.

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