Nigeria’s Apex Bank, CBN Fines UBA, Access Bank, Others 800m Over Involvement With Crypto Currency Transactions
07 April 2022
The Nigeria’s Apex, CBN has fined three (3) Nigeria’s Commercial Banks with a total of 800m for not adhering to regulations that barred customers from transacting in cryptocurrency in the country.
The banks involved include Access Bank, United Bank of Africa(UBA) and Stanbic IBTC, according to a report released on Wednesday by Bloomberg.
Bloomberg further noted that the penalties were part of efforts by the Central Bank to ensure that banks implement an order to stop trading in cryptocurrencies due to the threat they pose to Nigeria’s financial system.
The directive was from the Apex Bank was contained in a circular issued by the CBN in February 2021.
In addition, the CBN had in November directed banks to close the accounts of two individuals and a company for allegedly trading in cryptocurrencies.
Despite these regulations, Nigeria accounts for the largest volume of cryptocurrency transactions outside the United States., according to Paxful, a Bitcoin marketplace.
The country also has the largest proportion of retail users conducting crypto transactions under $10,000, Chainalysis says.
The report stated that Access Bank was fined N500m for failure to close customers’ crypto accounts, according to a filing with the Nigerian Exchange Limited while UBA incurred a N100m penalty for digital-currency transactions by a customer.
It said that the Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC, Wole Adeniyi, during an investor conference call in Lagos on Tuesday revealed that his bank was fined N200m ($478,595) for two accounts alleged to have been used for crypto transactions.
Adeniyi said that while Stanbic IBTC followed the apex bank’s directive, the transactions it was sanctioned for might have passed through its system undetected.
He noted that the CBN was able to detect the relevant transactions using an “advanced capability” that Nigerian banks don’t have access to, and they’ve asked the apex bank to share the technology.
“It doesn’t seem that they are going to entertain a refund, but they are now sharing intelligence with us to be able to kind of deter clients,” he added.