Nigerian court orders Binance to disclose all user data

In the motion, the lawyer representing the anti-graft agency contended that Binance’s activities in Nigeria contain elements of criminality.

A Nigerian High Court has directed the operators of Binance Holdings to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with comprehensive data and information relating to all persons from Nigeria who are trading on its platform.

According to local news outlet Sahara Reporters, the directive was given in an interim ruling delivered by Justice Emeka Nwite on Feb. 29 following an ex parte motion filed against the cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance by the EFCC.

An ex parte motion is one in which only one party is present, and the defense is not given prior notice of the motion, preventing them from presenting an argument.

In the motion, the lawyer representing the anti-graft agency, Ekele Iheanacho, contended that Binance’s activities in Nigeria contain elements of criminality.

This assertion contravenes Sections 38 of the EFCC Act, 2004, and Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 (as amended), which mandates reporting suspicious transactions to authorities, with penalties for non-compliance.

In an affidavit, EFCC operative Hamma Bello stated the need for the Commission to conclude its ongoing probe after receiving intelligence on alleged money laundering and terrorism financing involving the Binance crypto exchange platform.

Bello stated that on receipt of the Intelligence, the EFCC team discovered users using the cryptocurrency platform for illegal activities such as price discovery, confirmation, and market manipulation, all of which had resulted in significant distortions in the foreign exchange market and further devalued the naira against other currencies.

The commission maintained that the adverse effects of these activities on the Nigerian economy were communicated to Binance operators, leading to the request to delist the naira from Binance’s trading platform.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Nathaniel Luz, the CEO of Flincap — a liquidity platform for crypto exchanges — said that although this court order is an advantage for the Nigerian government, the best course of action between Binance and the Nigerian government would be to have a roundtable conversation on this issue.

Bayo Onanuga, the presidential adviser on information and strategy, argued that Binance and other crypto platforms manipulated the naira and triggered a massive decline in the local fiat currency. The official also suggested banning platforms like Binance in the country.

Nigeria has emerged as one of the fastest-growing crypto economies in the world in the past few years. It is also the second-biggest economy in the world in terms of crypto adoption in 2023.

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