NFIU warns banks against use of fake documents

NFIU warns banks against use of fake documents

The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has issued a disclaimer on fraudulent allegations involving the recovery of electronic funds transfers from foreign banks to Nigerian bank accounts.

In its June 2024 report, the NFIU said it was committed to providing timely advice to stakeholders through an evidence-based approach from relevant case studies.

According to the NFIU, the report provides information on emerging trends, patterns, suspicious activities and methods intended to exploit vulnerabilities in the financial system for fraudulent and illegal activities.

“The recommendation became necessary following numerous petitions received by the NFIU from financial institutions, government agencies and other third parties seeking assistance in tracing and recovering funds transferred by foreign companies to their business partners in Nigeria,” the NFIU said.

“The advisory is intended to draw the attention of stakeholders and the general public to new trends and red flags that have been observed so far, particularly in the case of fraudsters using forged documents to deceive unsuspecting members of the public.”

The report explained that from its findings, deceptive fraudulent petitions involving the tracing and recovery of funds purportedly transferred from foreign banks to Nigerian banks are becoming a frequent threat not only to targeted victims but also to financial institutions, law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and other government agencies.

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According to the firm, one law firm had previously filed a petition on behalf of an NGO client, alleging that €30 billion transferred from foreign banks to Nigerian banks had been frozen by Nigerian financial institutions, and called on the NFIU and other relevant agencies to trace and recover it.

According to the petition, the purpose of the funds is to invest in the real estate sector.

The NFIU warned financial institutions and the public to be vigilant and adopt recommendations to ensure that critical documents are not easily accessible and that further safeguards are put in place to prevent them from being used as a back-up for such petitions.

“Almost all of the fraudulent claims originate from banks in the same jurisdictions and abroad, so the public should exercise a certain degree of skepticism when dealing with wire transfer documents from major European banks.”

In its advisory, the NFIU advised that upon receiving letters from clients anticipating huge inflows of funds, evidenced by regular telex copies, financial institutions should immediately undertake enhanced due diligence sufficient to attest to the authenticity of the documents presented.


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