Leatherback, a cross-border funds startup, is the topic of ongoing hypothesis inside high-level on-line communities of the Nigerian tech ecosystem. The UK-based firm, which raised $10 million pre-seed, is backed by ZedCrest Capital and offers cross-border cost companies to clients in South Africa, Egypt, Uganda, India, the UAE, and Nigeria.
An unsubstantiated report making the rounds on closed WhatsApp and Telegram communities claims that Leatherback misplaced a big sum to an entity generally known as SDQ Facilitators–TechCabal is not going to describe the rumours intimately as they continue to be unsubstantiated. The preliminary supply of the hearsay additionally stays unclear.
Leatherback instructed TechCabal it’s conscious of the rumours and denied all of the claims. In an unique interview with TechCabal, Leatherback’s CEO Toheeb Ibrahim additionally denied different rumours that transactions with SDQ Facilitators had uncovered the fintech to an ongoing investigation that has left its financial institution accounts frozen worldwide. “[It’s] terrible and laughable,” he stated. “Our accounts are fully functional, and you can log in right now, create an account and complete a transaction.”
Although Ibrahim denied any wrongdoing, losses or affiliation with SDQ Facilitators, he stated Leatherback has offered data on the previous to the Nigerian Police Force and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). While TechCabal couldn’t independently confirm the investigation particulars from the EFCC and the police, Ibrahim stated, “We don’t know who they [SDQ Financials] are; we’ve not engaged them earlier than, and we don’t have any hyperlinks with them. If the authorities name at Leatherback, we’re inclined to reply; the extent of our investigation is to the extent the police have requested, ‘What do you know about these people?’ and we now have offered these particulars to them.
“Hopefully, they can find whoever is involved, but none of Leatherback’s funds are affected in this situation,” Ibrahim added. The firm additionally identified that it’s topic to regulation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and that every one shopper’s funds are protected.
TechCabal investigations turned up little details about SDQ Facilitators. The entity is integrated in Nigeria, and particulars on the web site of the Corporate Affairs Commission present one particular person–Lawal Mohammed Kazeem–with vital management on the firm. SDQ didn’t reply to TechCabal’s request for feedback. Industry insiders instructed TechCabal SDQ is a Nigerian foreign money buying and selling firm that buys and sells the US greenback at a decrease trade price than the prevalent parallel market worth.
Last week, TechCabal reported that Float, a fintech firm initially based to assist startups with cashflow administration, dabbled into foreign money buying and selling as a substitute. In a collection of transactions that finally went flawed, the startup misplaced cash and couldn’t pay not less than $6 million in shopper deposits. It reveals the precarious nature of trying to revenue from Nigeria’s arbitrage state of affairs.
With the buck solely available on the black market, some firms are tempted by guarantees of cheaper entry to FX, however the outcomes may be disastrous. A dealer accustomed to the state of affairs however requested not to be recognized so they might communicate freely instructed TechCabal that the payoff for firms in foreign money buying and selling was an excessive amount of to be ignored. “A company I’m familiar with made N1.4 billion trading currencies in only one month,” they instructed TechCabal.
Leatherback stated it’s accustomed to folks’s makes an attempt to get cheaper international trade by means of third events; “We always encourage people to stop dealing with intermediaries when they need foreign exchange.” As to why it didn’t reply to the rumors, the corporate stated, “Leatherback’s accounts are open, the platform is open. Instead of responding to these rumors, if they tell you Leatherback accounts are down, please log in and find out if it’s working. If you log in and it’s working, everything answers itself.”
…. to be continued
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