The First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has joined other financial institutions (OFIs) in ignoring a Federal High Court ruling against closure of cryptocurrency-linked accounts.
FCMB labelled bitcoin and other cryptocurrency trading as criminal activities, and has threatened to take action against any staff that fails to flag crypto traders.
In a statement to workers of FCMB, the lender said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was strictly monitoring non-compliance with the directive on the closure of all cryptocurrency-linked accounts.
CBN, FCMB going against court order on cryptocurrency
In one of its sweeping actions, the CBN had froze the accounts of digital investment platforms, Chaka, Trove and Rise Vest Technologies for trading in cryptocurrency.
However, in a lawsuit instituted by Rise Vest, Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, ruled that a mere circular can’t be relied on by the CBN to block accounts of crypto traders, as it wasn’t law.
The judge stated on October 18, that the financial regulator failed to back its grievances against cryptocurrency trading with a section of the constitution, as there’s no law forbidding companies or individuals from engaging in digital assets.
This ruling was a blow to CBN’s February 5, 2021, circular informing Nigerian banks and financial institutions to close accounts involved in bitcoin and other stablecoins activities, and cut ties with crypto exchanges.
However, despite Justice Taiwo’s judgement in favour of cryptocurrency traders, Godwin Emefiele-led CBN, Nigerian banks and OFIs, have been cracking down on sellers and buyers of bitcoin and other digital coins.
Ripples Nigeria had reported that Zenith Bank, GTBank, and Kuda were clamping down on their customers linked to cryptocurrency, and now, an alleged company email from FCMB has shown that the Yemisi Edun-led bank was also targeting 18-30 year-old Nigerians trading in bitcoin.
FCMB says Nigerian crypto traders are organized gangs, money launderers
FCMB disclosed that non-compliance to CBN’s crypto ban circular will attract high impact regulatory sanction from the industry regulator despite Justice Taiwo’s judgement hovering over the financial sector.