San Francisco and Lagos-based fintech unicorn, Flutterwave, led by Nigerian tech billionaire Gbenga Agboola, finds itself entangled in yet another legal battle as a Nairobi court orders the freezing of 45 bank accounts and ten mobile money wallets belonging to the company.
This recent court action adds to the mounting allegations of money laundering against the financial technology firm, as individuals and companies seek access to billions allegedly stashed away in local banks.
High Court Judge Alfred Mabeya issued the freezing order last week in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of 2,468 Nigerian nationals who claim that Flutterwave defrauded them of Ksh1.6 billion ($12.04 million).
The lawsuit names six financial institutions, including United Bank of Africa, Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Equity Bank, Ecobank, and Safaricom, as interested parties holding Flutterwave’s funds.
Another dispute involves Hong Kong’s Lae Technologies, which has sued Flutterwave and seven subsidiaries for breach of contract. Lae Technologies is seeking at least $88 million in compensation and has requested the Nairobi court to freeze several bank accounts linked to Flutterwave and its affiliates.
The Hong Kong company alleges that these accounts substantially exceed the compensation sought.
Flutterwave, founded in 2016 by Gbenga Agboola and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, is widely recognized as Africa’s most valuable tech startup. In 2022, the company raised $250 million from its Series-D funding round, elevating its valuation to over $3 billion and solidifying Agboola’s position as a prominent figure in the African fintech landscape.
Flutterwave has been at the forefront of driving innovation and fostering technological advancements in Africa and developing markets. Allegations of financial wrongdoing, including money laundering, insider trading, fraud, and perjury, have cast a shadow over the company.
Earlier this year, the Kenyan High Court froze $52.5 million spread across 62 bank accounts owned by Flutterwave on suspicion of being proceeds from card fraud and money laundering.
Despite these challenges, Flutterwave has maintained its commitment to safeguarding client funds. Earlier this year, the company swiftly refuted media reports claiming a hack that lost N2.9 billion ($6.3 million) from its accounts.
As Flutterwave navigates these legal battles, it remains to be seen how the company will overcome these obstacles and continue its mission of fostering limitless opportunities for customers and businesses in Africa and developing markets.