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How Fraudsters Sent Over €36bn Fake Wire Transfers To Nigerian Banks From Abroad – NFIU

The Nigerian Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU) has revealed how fraudsters petitioned banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), accusing them of criminally converting €36bn wired by their foreign partners.

The NFIU revealed in its ‘Advisory On Fraudulent Petitions Involving Tracing And Recovery Of Electronic Wire Transfers From Foreign Banks Into Accounts In Nigerian Banks’ that the entities claim they were victims of criminal conversion of funds by Nigerian banks and the CBN.

The NFIU said the advisory became necessary due to numerous petitions it has received from financial institutions, government agencies, and other third parties seeking assistance towards the tracing and recovery of funds transferred from foreign entities to their business partners in Nigeria.

In its advisory, the financial watchdog said the general public should be aware of the threat posed by fraudulent individuals and their fictitious telegraphic inflows.

The financial watchdog said some petitions were forwarded to it demanding the release of €30bn, €6bn and N30m by an NGO, law firm (name withheld) and an individual requesting the
NFIU and other relevant agencies to trace and recover funds.

NFIU said the law firm submitted a petition on behalf of its client an NGO requesting the recovery of the sum of €30bn, transferred from a foreign bank to a bank in Nigeria.

The petition further claimed the funds which are meant for investment in real estate had been blocked by a financial institution in Nigeria.

However, after conducting an investigation, the NFIU said it found out that most of the organizations’ supporting documents are forged documents which is a common trend among fraudsters.

The NFIU observed, “The common mode of transaction observed was by SWIFT wire transfer and all the messages provided as additional attachments were observed to be doctored/forged.

“Records from the company registry revealed that the entities involved in such transactions are often newly incorporated, and in some cases, they are not duly incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Some of the account numbers contained in the petitions do not exist.

“The sums mentioned in the petitions are often very large sums and in foreign currencies. The highest being €30, 000,000,000.00 Euros (Thirty Billion Euros) only while the lowest was N30, 000,000.”

The NFIU expressed concern that the fraudsters request a financial commitment from individuals in exchange for a fixed percentage of the expected funds.

It said that they go the extent of requesting for a law firm to offer legal services in exchange for a fixed percentage of the alleged inflow.

The NFIU added that, “Our findings suggest that deceptive fraudulent petitions involving the tracing and recovery of funds allegedly transferred from foreign banks to Nigerian banks are becoming a recurrent threat to not only the targeted victim(s) but also Financial Institutions, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and other government agencies.

“The public should exercise some level of skepticism when dealing with telegraphic transfer documents from major European banks as nearly all frivolous claims emanate from same jurisdictions and bank abroad. Relevant LEAs should also take steps to effectively address the problem of fraudulent telex copies by ensuring the prompt prosecution and sanctioning of offenders to serve as a deterrence.”

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