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Olukoyede: Some youths trading crypto unaware they’re being used to fund terrorism

Ola Olukoyede, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says some youths who trade in cryptocurrencies do not know that they are being used to fund terrorism in Nigeria.

Olukoyede spoke on Wednesday during a multi-stakeholders’ national dialogue on preventing terrorism financing and violent extremism.

The EFCC chair said some of the people who receive money to trade in cryptocurrencies do not know that their financiers are sponsors of terrorism.

He added that some of the 1,146 bank accounts recently frozen by the anti-graft agency were conduits for terrorism funding.

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“Some of you are aware of our activities in the area of investigating virtual currency trading and the likes of cryptocurrencies,” he said.

“They are potential platforms to fund terrorism. A lot of us don’t understand that. Some of our discoveries during investigation of some of these platforms were mind boggling.

“We thought Binance was a major one. Yes, it was. We are prosecuting them. But there are other platforms we have discovered.

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“They used some of these young men. Some of them don’t know that the people who gave them money to trade are people who fund terrorism.”

The EFCC boss said there is a need to adopt technology in tracking money used to fund terrorism in the country.

Olukoyede narrated how he was informed by a friend in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that dollar bills across the world can be tracked with technology.

“It is important for us to adopt the use of technology,” he said.

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“I was comparing notes with an assistant director in the FBI — a friend of mine. He said: ‘My brother, from our systems in the US, we can track every printed dollar anywhere in the world’.”

The EFCC boss added that Nigeria must get to that stage where technology can be deployed to track naira notes used for terrorism financing.

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