- Three Nigerians linked to 25.6 billion shillings who were transferred to Kenya between October and November 2020 bought Bitcoin worth 5 billion shillings in several countries, including Kenyan crypto exchange BitPesa.
- The three bought cryptocurrencies worth $36,353,728 (4.2 billion shillings) from US firm Binance.
- They also purchased Bitcoin worth $7,246,582 (Sh839.5 million) from Busha during the same period.
Three Nigerians linked to 25.6 billion shillings who were transferred to Kenya between October and November 2020 bought Bitcoin worth 5 billion shillings in several countries, including Kenyan crypto exchange BitPesa.
A statement filed as part of a European investigation reveals that between August and September 2020, Mr. Olubunmi Akinyemiju, Mr. Olufemi Olukunmi Demuren and Mr. Eghosasere Nehikhare went on a shopping spree, buying Bitcoins on BitPesa and others exchanges, including Binance in the United States and Busha in Nigeria. .
The three bought cryptocurrencies worth $36,353,728 (4.2 billion shillings) from US firm Binance.
They also purchased Bitcoin worth $7,246,582 (Sh839.5 million) from Busha during the same period.
The money they used to buy the cryptocurrencies was wired from their bank accounts RemX Limited in Kenya, RemX Inc which is registered in the US and RemX Nigeria.
Investigators believe the trio then redistributed the crypto to individual wallets to render them untraceable.
European investigators believe that a senior Kenyan politician and a Nigerian investor with interests in the energy sector were the beneficiaries of the alleged money laundering scheme.
The Nation has yet to establish the exact amount of Bitcoins that Nigerians bought from Bitpesa in Kenya and Quidax registered in Malta.
At current market rates, Sh5 billion translates to 1,116 Bitcoins.
The three have enlisted the help of Kenyans in their shopping spree, which has now caught the attention of Kenyan and European investigative agencies, which monitor hundreds of transactions spanning at least three continents.
The cryptocurrency purchase reportedly took place a month before the three billion shillings wired from Lagos to a network comprising more than 10 companies in Nairobi, an indication that Nigerians may have been transacting in Kenya long before they sound the alarm in Europe.
To circumvent strict money laundering rules in the United States, the Nigerians and their Kenyan associates wired money to an account held in their company’s name to make it look like they were making “money transfers”. of the same company”.
Once the money arrived in the US, the companies used Fedwire to send the money to Binance accounts to avoid detection.
Detectives in Europe and Kenya believe that Mr. Akinyemiju, Mr. Demuren and Mr. Nehikhare benefit from the sponsorship of a powerful Kenyan politician who may have been recruited to remove legal charges that hinder the transfer of huge sums of money. money to and from Kenya.
Almost a month ago, the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) obtained court orders freezing six bank accounts operated by six companies linked to the Nigerians, which had a balance of 5.6 billion shillings.
Court documents do not indicate whether there were any further transactions involving the accounts before the ARA obtained freezing orders pending the conclusion of money laundering investigations.
The Nation has now established that 15 billion shillings could still be blocked in a local bank account and was intended to finance a mysterious transaction with a Kenyan company, Pumicells Limited.
Pumicells Limited owns a cryptocurrency mining service, Rempesa, but also offers money transfer services.
Company registry records show that Pumicells is 100% owned by a Kenyan citizen, Mrs. Pauline Wanjiru Wachira.
Ms. Wachira incorporated Pumicells on September 18, 2020, just three weeks after the three Nigerians embarked on their Bitcoin shopping spree.
The official listed contact for Pumicells is registered as Evalyne Wawira Gachoki.
Ms Gachoki is a director of RemX Capital Limited, whose account at UBA Bank was among those frozen by the High Court earlier this month following an ARA request. RemX Capital Limited had 770.4 million shillings at the time the account was frozen. The company is 100% owned by RemX Holding Kenya Limited, registered in Dubai.
The other companies whose accounts have been frozen are OIT Africa Limited (Sh4.83 billion) and Avalon Offshore (Sh43.8 million).
The link between Ms Gachoki and Pumicells indicates that she and Ms Wachira may have been enlisted to help Nigerian nationals transfer money from Nigeria and Kenya.
The ARA began investigating the alleged money laundering ring in February after receiving reports of inexplicable transactions.