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Court Orders EFCC To Freeze 1,146 Bank Accounts Involved In Unauthorised FX Deals



The Federal High Court in Abuja has issued an interim order empowering the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to freeze 1,146 bank accounts belonging to individuals and companies.
Cablenews24 reports that the agency claimed it was investigating them for unauthorised dealing in foreign exchange, money laundering and terrorism financing.
Justice Emeka Nwite issued the order in a ruling on an ex-parte motion by EFCC lawyer Ekele Iheanacho.
This Online News Medium gathered that the judge ordered the commission to ensure that its investigation is concluded within 90 days.
Justice Nwite, after listening to Iheanacho, held: “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 days.”
He adjourned till July 23 for a report on the findings.
A copy of the enrolled order, made last Wednesday, was obtained yesterday.
The EFCC, in the motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/543/2024 said: “The bank accounts in respect of which the reliefs are sought are subject of investigation by the EFCC in relation to money laundering and terrorism financing.
“Preliminary investigation conducted thus far reveals that the bank accounts are linked to persons, who take advantage of the virtual cryptocurrency exchange platforms to illegally manipulate the value of the naira and launder proceeds of unlawful activities.
“There is a need to preserve the funds in the identified bank accounts pending the conclusion of investigation and possible prosecution.”
On February 29, Justice Nwite issued a similar order compelling Binance Holdings Limited to provide EFCC with the comprehensive data or information of all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.
The interim order granted was to enable the EFCC investigate the allegations of money laundering and terrorism financing raised against Binance, a crypto currency trading platform.
In a motion it filed, the EFCC claimed that it uncovered users of Binance platform deploying it for price discovery, confirmation and market manipulation which caused tremendous distortions in the market, resulting in the naira losing its values against other currencies.
The EFCC added that the information provided its investigating team by Binance showed that the total trading volume from Nigeria in 2023 alone stood at $21.6 billion.
The anti-graft agency filed a charge against Binance and two of its executives on alleged money laundering, while the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) filed another charge against them.
Binance and its two officials are currently being prosecuted before a Federal High Court in Abuja by the EFCC and the FIRS on two separate charges bordering on money laundering and tax offences.
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