Ibrahim Ibitade, the CEO of Leatherback, a fintech startup that gives cross-border funds to prospects in seven nations, has mentioned he isn’t hiding after Nigeria’s Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) declared him wished on Thursday afternoon. In keeping with an Instagram post from the fee, 31-year-old Ibitade is needed in reference to allegations of conspiracy and acquiring cash beneath pretense. A supply on the EFCC, a legislation enforcement company that investigates monetary crime, confirmed the authenticity of the discover however didn’t present additional particulars.
“Since this investigation started, Leatherback has supported the EFCC with a number of assets and documentary proof that has aided this investigation,” mentioned Ibrahim Ibitade on a cellphone name with TechCabal. “We’ve got carried out as a lot as required to make sure the authorities have all the mandatory data. My staff has spent 35 of the final 60 days on the EFCC workplaces in Lagos and Abuja. We aren’t hiding from the EFCC.”
Leatherback, SDQ Financials and a posh EFCC case
Three sources with direct information of the matter advised TechCabal that the EFCC is investigating fraud involving an organization known as SDQ Financials, an incident first reported by TechCabal in September. In keeping with the Company Affairs Fee web site, SDQ Financials is integrated in Nigeria, and just one particular person, Lawal Mohammed Kazeem, is listed as having important management of the corporate. SDQ didn’t reply to TechCabal’s request for feedback.
Nevertheless, six folks with information of the matter mentioned SDQ Financials, a service provider on Leatherback, promised a number of corporations and people higher FX charges than what was obtainable on Nigeria’s black market. These sources mentioned a number of distinguished corporations, together with a publicly listed firm, gave billions of Naira to SDQ Financials, an unregulated entity with little or no publicly obtainable data, for FX offers. Sources described offers just like these carried out by Float, an organization that lost at least ₦5 billion in buyer deposits.
Leatherback mentioned the assertion and information of the difficulty it shared with this publication in September stay unchanged. In keeping with Leatherback, SDQ Financials is a service provider that makes use of Leatherback’s Naira and USD wallets. The corporate mentioned it accomplished a Know Your Buyer (KYC) onboarding course of for SDQ Financials and stored data of its transactions, as mandated by legislation. It denies any direct involvement with SDQ Financials and says it didn’t know in regards to the fraud allegedly perpetrated by SDQ Financials.
A monetary companies knowledgeable advised this publication that the EFCC started investigating Leatherack as a result of a few of the Naira funds reportedly acquired by SDQ Financials have been traced to Leatherback’s wallets. It’s unclear how a lot the EFCC is attempting to actively get well, however two sources say a minimum of ₦3 billion stays unaccounted for. The EFCC has not shared any data on the specifics of its investigation.
Nonetheless, Leatherback says it’s unfazed and believes it’s being bullied. “If a business financial institution in Nigeria points an account to a person or a enterprise and that enterprise goes to defraud different folks, will you declare the CEO of the business financial institution wished?” Ibitade requested.
Zedcrest Capital, Leatherback’s lead investor in its 2022 $10 million elevate, declined to touch upon any a part of this story.