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EFCC bitcoin wallet account balance jumps to $20m

By Barakat Odegbola

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has disclosed that its bitcoin wallet account balance has increased to $20 million after several looted cryptocurrency recoveries.

The anti-graft agency revealed that the commission keeps cryptocurrency loot recovered from online fraudsters in its e-wallet account.

Speaking in an interview with Channels TV on Tuesday, the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, hinted that the commission had about $20 million worth of recovered cryptocurrencies in its e-wallet.

It would be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in February 2021 ordered banks and other financial institutions to identify persons and entities operating cryptocurrency exchanges and close all such accounts.

It also stated that dealing with cryptocurrencies and facilitating payments through them is illegal in the country.

Backing the CBN move, the EFCC chairman said that the ban has assisted in limiting avenues through which criminals launder the proceeds of their crimes in the country.

He said, “As it is today, there is nowhere in the world where cryptocurrency is being regulated. The EFCC is looking at an avenue in which people are laundering and receiving proceeds of crime and that is our worry.

According to Bawa, cybercriminals who used international money transfer platforms like MoneyGram and Western Union in the past now use digital currencies to get the proceeds of their dubious transactions.

“We have seen time and time again where cybercriminals are using this avenue to get their proceeds of crime. Before it used to be through money transfer agencies like Money Gram and of cause Western Union. Now they have gone E. They will defraud somebody. They will get gift cards, exchange them on the dark web, and they will use the proceeds to buy crypto, and they can get it to their e-wallet, and then, of course, they can sell and get their money,” he added.

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