• Thursday, May 23, 2024
businessday logo


EFCC secures court order to freeze 1,146 bank accounts over forex crisis

EFCC freezes 300 p-to-p forex accounts to avert further naira crash — Olukoyede

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) an interim order to freeze 1,146 bank accounts belonging to individuals and companies.

This decision follows allegations of unauthorised foreign exchange dealings, money laundering, and terrorism financing.

The ruling, delivered by Justice Emeka Nwite, comes after the EFCC’s ex-parte motion seeking to freeze the accounts and conclude its investigation within 90 days. The motion, heard on April 24, cited various legal provisions including sections of the Nigerian Constitution and anti-money laundering laws.

According to the EFCC, preliminary investigations suggest that the frozen accounts are linked to individuals exploiting virtual cryptocurrency exchanges to manipulate the Naira’s value and launder proceeds from illegal activities.

Among the account holders listed are Akitoye Adeyemi Ayomide, Clyp Trading Ltd, Toyetech Platforms Ltd, and several others. The investigation extends to platforms like Binance, with the court previously ordering the company to provide data on Nigerian traders.

The EFCC alleges that manipulation on platforms like Binance has led to significant distortions in the currency market, causing the Naira to depreciate against other currencies. The total trading volume from Nigeria on Binance in 2023 was reported at $21.6 billion.

While the EFCC pursues legal action against Binance and its executives for money laundering, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is separately prosecuting the company for alleged tax evasion.

Justice Nwite adjourned the matter until July 23 for further proceedings.