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Nigeria’s Central Bank Probes $1 Billion Currency Counterfeit Deal

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ABUJA, Nigeria — The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has initiated a probe into an alleged currency counterfeiting operation involving a sum of $1 billion.

A Nigerian citizen and nationals from other countries are among the suspects.

The CBN’s confidential memo, dated August 23, 2023, provides insights into the ongoing inquiry.

Addressed to banks and financial institutions, the communication warns of counterfeit dollars intended for the African market.

The memo, signed by the Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Chibuzo Efobi, states that Turkish authorities made the arrest.

Titled ‘Arrest of a Nigerian and four other nationals for alleged involvement in currency counterfeiting’, the document sheds light on a large-scale operation that could have significant repercussions for the continent’s economy.

Details of the Suspects

Among those arrested is Dele Samson, a Nigerian holding both Nigerian and Swedish passports.

Other suspects include Kean Kwasi Arhin from Ghana, Netanel Jakob Weiss from Britain, and two Swedish nationals – Bo Nils Olof Forsaker and Peter Willi Herbert Schick.

The CBN has urged all financial institutions to swiftly search their databases for any information on the listed individuals, determine if they hold any accounts or control any funds, and promptly file suspicious transaction reports to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU.

Institutions that find no such records must render a NIL report to the NFIU.

These directives aim to ensure that the financial sector is proactive in stemming any potential ramifications from the counterfeit operation, particularly concerning money laundering or terrorism financing.

Implications and Reactions

The scale of the counterfeiting operation, targeting the African market, could have considerable impacts on the continent’s financial stability if unchecked.

Currency counterfeiting can undermine the value of genuine notes, fuel inflation, and erode public confidence in a country’s financial system.

Efforts to reach the Director of Corporate Communications of the CBN, Dr. Isa Abdulmumin, for further information were unsuccessful.

As investigations continue, stakeholders are keenly watching how the situation unfolds, and the steps the CBN and other regulatory bodies will take to safeguard Nigeria’s financial system.

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