Nigeria claims Binance’s bribery allegations are ‘blackmail’ Nigeria claims Binance’s bribery allegations are ‘blackmail’

Nigeria claims Binance’s bribery allegations are ‘blackmail’

The government said Binance should respect the legal process instead of engaging in public relations maneuvers.

Nigeria claims Binance’s bribery allegations are ‘blackmail’

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate. Image includes combined content which may include AI-generated content.

The Nigerian government has refuted bribery allegations made by crypto exchange Binance, which were described as baseless and an attempt to distract from the company’s legal challenges in the country, according to a press statement released on May 8.

Binance CEO Richard Teng recently alleged that Nigerian officials demanded $150 million in crypto to settle an ongoing criminal investigation against the company.

However, Rabiu Ibrahim, Special Assistant to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, dismissed the allegations as “diversionary tactics” and “blackmail.”

Serious offenses

The Nigerian government said Binance is being probed for serious offenses, including money laundering, terrorism financing, and manipulating foreign exchange through illegal trading.

It further highlighted that another Binance executive escaped custody and is now considered a fugitive with an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol.

The government reiterated its commitment to following lawful processes and urged Binance to respect judicial proceedings rather than engaging in public relations maneuvers.

The statement concluded by emphasizing that the Nigerian government will not succumb to any form of blackmail from any entity, whether local or foreign.

Execs arrested

Amid the bribery allegations, Teng has also called attention to the detention of Tigran Gambaryan, a US citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, who was apprehended upon his arrival in Abuja on Feb. 26.

Teng condemned Gambaryan’s detention as a tactic to control Binance, stating that the executive was in Nigeria as a “functional expert” rather than a negotiator or decision-maker.

This controversy arises as Nigeria intensifies its regulatory measures against crypto trading to protect its currency, the Naira, from manipulation.

Over recent months, the Nigerian government has directed telecommunications providers to restrict local crypto users’ access to trading platforms such as Binance and OctaFX. Additionally, authorities have accused the crypto exchange Binance of enabling trades worth billions, further exacerbating the strain on the Naira.

The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission also recently announced plans to remove the Naira from peer-to-peer trading platforms as part of a broader crackdown on crypto trading, which has been blamed for adding volatility to the foreign exchange market.

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