A Nigerian fintech startup, Flutterwave, has rubbished allegations that it participated in a $59 million money-laundering scheme in Kenya that resulted in the closure of the company’s bank accounts.
A Kenyan court had ordered the closure of the bank accounts of Flutterwave when the Asset Recovery Agency of Kenya informed the court that 56 bank accounts held by seven different companies were being used to launder money while pretending to offer merchant services.
“Investigations established that the bank accounts operations had suspicious activities where funds could be received from specific foreign entities which raised suspicion. The funds were then transferred to related accounts as opposed to settlement to merchants,” the recovery agency alleged.
According to Kenyan newspapers, Flutterwave allegedly operated 29 bank accounts with Guaranty Trust Bank, 17 with Equity Bank and six with Ecobank.
However, in a statement on Monday, Flutterwave denied all claims and stated that the company was a target of false media reports and misrepresentations.
The statement read in part, “Claims of financial improprieties involving the company in Kenya are entirely false and are being circulated as part of a disinformation campaign. Flutterwave has been a target of deliberate false media reports and misrepresentations.
“Through our financial institution partners, we collect and pay on behalf of merchants and corporate entities. In the process, we earn our fees through a transaction charge, records of which are available and can be verified. As a business, we hold corporate funds to support our operations and provide services to all our customers.
“By facilitating payments for the biggest organizations in the world and everyday businesses, we process significantly large volumes of money and contribute to growing the economy in Kenya, and the rest of Africa.”
The company also stated its role as a payment merchant in Kenya, noting that an unnamed reputable firm always audited its Anti-Money Laundering practices and it complied with regulatory bodies.
“We are a financial technology company that maintains the highest regulatory standards in our operations. Our Anti-money laundering practices and operations are regularly audited by one of the big four firms. We remain proactive in our engagements with regulatory bodies to continue to stay compliant.
“Flutterwave has a responsibility to ensure the integrity of the ecosystem, and we pledge our commitment to continue to work with all stakeholders to uphold this. We are working to figure out the motive behind the publication, and have the records straightened,” the statement concluded.