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Daily fraud update: 26th November

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Accused Nigerian forex scammer remanded in custody

A man from Nigeria who is accused of carrying out a scam foreign exchange transaction has been remanded in custody.

Ismaila Mustapha, who is also known as Mompha, submitted a not guilty plea to over 10 counts.

The counts include everything from unauthorised foreign exchange trading to money laundering.

Overall, he is accused of perpetrating a scam worth N33bn naira – equivalent to approximately $90m and £70m.

He has also been accused of not complying with the rules of the country’s Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Mompha, who is well-known online in Nigeria, was accused alongside a firm called Islamob Global Investments Ltd.

The charges were brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

There have been a number of twists and turns to the story already.

Mompha was taken into custody on 19th October at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the Nigerian city of Abuja.

He later attempted to sue the EFCC for N5m naira, stating that he had experienced wrongful detention.

Illegal crypto seen as big “black market” in China

A prominent official in China has hit out at perceived problems with the Chinese cryptocurrency market.

Yedong Zhu, who is the president of the Beijing Blockchain Technology Application Association, said that there were several thousand criminal crypto organisations in the major Asian economy.

Speaking to a state-run media organisation in the country, Zhu said he believes that there are just 4,000 Chinese crypto firms who are in fact looking into blockchain development.

More broadly, according to Zhu, there are apparently 25,000 companies in the country which are attempting to issue their own cryptocurrencies or related tokens.

It is understood that the People’s Bank of China, which is the country’s central bank, is working alongside other regulators to attempt to remove criminal crypto firms from the country’s tech scene.

It is claimed by some that cybercrime, including blockchain-related crimes, now has a value of over $10bn.

This comes after the Chinese government announced significant funding for organisations in the blockchain sphere.

Overall, $2bn is believed to have been earmarked for crypto firms to use.

However, Zhu pointed out that ongoing attempts by the Chinese government to increase the popularity of blockchain in the country could mean that fraudsters are able to gain more access to the market.

“We need to make sure the blockchain firms that illegal raise funds and commit financial frauds are not included in the government blockchain support programs”, he is quoted as saying.

Recently, a double figure number of staff members from growing Chinese crypto exchange BISS were told that they were out of a job – and were later arrested.

They stand accused of crimes relating to cryptocurrencies.

However, BISS itself has said that it will work alongside authorities.