A prosecution witness, Ogunjobi Olalekan, has narrated how a suspect, Eze Harrison Arinze, received $382,000 worth of bitcoins from his victims before his account was blocked by his Virtual Asset Service provider.
Olalekan, who is the 1st prosecution witness and an officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the trial of Arinze, said the suspect deceived his victim into withdrawing their funds and depositing them into his (Arinze’s) Bitcoin accounts.
Olalekan told Justice J. K. Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that Arinze’s victims thought they were transacting legitimate businesses while depositing their bitcoin into the suspect’s accounts.
Arinze was arraigned on March 22, 2023, before Justice Omotosho, on five counts bordering on obtaining by false pretense and money laundering to the tune of $769,263. He pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him.
But at the resumed trial of the case, Olalekan told the court, “We requested for users on the platform who have deposited cryptocurrency to the defendant’s account and their names were provided. About 30 persons on the platforms deposited various sums of Bitcoin to the defendant’s account.
“Those that were identified were from 13 different countries- the total inflow to his Bitcoin wallet address based on the response was about 15.5btc valued around $382,000 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Two United States Dollars and the defendant has withdrawn about 5btc before it was blocked.
“We got the information of these users who deposited the funds, showing their user identities, location, money deposited at different intervals, wallet addresses where these funds were sent to at different intervals,” he said.
He further stated that other vital information like “the amount they sent, dollar equivalent, email addresses of depositors, transaction identities” were also disclosed.
Olalekan told the court that 28 out of the 30 depositors were reached through their email addresses to establish the purpose of the various sums they deposited in the defendant’s account and what they knew about “Swiss-Coin, Swiss earning, Swiss coins and Digitrades ltd.”
After listening to the witness testimony, Justice Omotosho adjourned the matter for continuation to June 14, 2023, and ordered the remand of the defendant in the Kuje Correctional Centre.