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Nigerian startup Flutterwave plans Nasdaq listing despite mounting fraud charges – Business Daily

Nigerian financial technology firm Flutterwave is planning to list on Nasdaq Stock Market in the United States despite rising card fraud and money laundering charges in Kenya and regulatory hurdles across Africa.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the unicorn’s planned listing will raise funds for expansion in existing markets and enter new ones on the continent.  
Fluttewave is also planning to start lending with the introduction of collateral-free digital loans to businesses, Bloomberg said.
“We are a growth company, we have a tremendous opportunity to invest and really develop solutions for the largest enterprises in the world that transact in Africa,” Bloomberg quoted Flutterwave CFO Oneal Bhambani.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said last month that fintech is not licensed to operate in Kenya despite the East African largest economy being its second-largest market after Nigeria.
READ: CBK warns Flutterwave and Chipper Cash not licensed to operate in Kenya
Subsequently, the CBK directed banks and microfinance institutions to seize deals with a payments technology firm together with Chipper Cash, another cross-border payments fintech.  
“It has come to the attention of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) that Flutterwave Payments Technology Ltd and Chipper Technologies Ltd have been engaging in the money remittance business without licensing and authorisation by CBK,” the letter said.
The directive was in response to money laundering charges now before the High Court.
On Monday, the High Court gave new orders to freeze another Sh400.6 million in three bank accounts and 19 Safaricom M-Pesa paybill numbers over alleged links to fraud.  
In July, court froze more than Sh6.2 billion spread in 62 bank accounts belonging to the payments settlement firm and four Kenyans on fears they are proceeds of crime.
READ: Kenya freezes Sh6.2bn linked to Nigerian start-up Flutterwave
The billions in Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Equity, EcoBank, KCB and Co-operative Bank accounts were frozen after the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) applied to block the transfer or withdrawal, pending the filing of a petition to have the money forfeited to the government.
The agency said in court filings that their investigations revealed the cash was wired in the guise of payments for goods and services.
The Sh360.2 billion startup has not responded to the allegations in court but has denied the accusations in media.
ALSO READ: Flutterwave now says it applied for CBK licence in 2019



Joseph Muongi

Financial.co.ke was founded by Mr. Joseph Muongi Kamau. He holds a Master of Science in Finance, Bachelors of Science in Actuarial Science and a Certificate of proficiencty in insurance. He's also the lead financial consultant.