Tensions as Binance CEO claims Nigerian officials sought bribe in crypto

The CEO of Binance stated that the company is open to negotiating a settlement, but only if it has access to the petition and is fully informed about all the accusations made against it.

Cryptocurrency platform, Binance, has revealed that Nigerian officials demanded payments in digital currency to resolve issues they claimed the company faced in the country.

Richard Teng, the firm’s CEO, revealed this on Tuesday, May 7.

The incident follows the Nigerian government’s detention of two senior Binance executives on February 28 as part of an investigation into alleged illegal activities and foreign exchange rate manipulation.

The detained individuals are Nadeem Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British Kenyan who serves as Binance’s regional manager for Africa, and Tigran Gambaryan, a 39-year-old US citizen who holds the position of Binance’s head of financial crime compliance.

Additionally, the Nigerian government filed a criminal charge against Binance for “tax evasion” on March 25, coinciding with Anjarwalla’s escape from detention.

In discussing Binance’s challenges with the Nigerian government, Teng outlined the efforts made by the leading cryptocurrency exchange to communicate with the authorities.

This included a meeting held on January 8 in Abuja, during which Binance faced accusations of criminal activity.

Despite numerous requests, Binance has not yet provided specific details regarding these allegations.

Consequently, the company’s employees inquired about submitting written responses in lieu of a public hearing.

“There were a number of reasons for that, including the sensitivity of the information and getting the opportunity to see the allegations in full and prepare a thorough substantive response,” he said.

“The meeting ended with the Chair confirming they would consider the matter and revert through Binance’s local counsel.

“However, as our employees were leaving the venue, they were approached by unknown persons who suggested to them to make a payment in settlement of the allegations.

“Later that day, our local counsel — representing us at that time — was summoned by the Committee through someone purporting to be their agent, who relayed the Committee’s terms and instructed our local counsel to advise us.

“Counsel reported back that he had been presented with a demand for a significant payment in cryptocurrency to be paid in secret within 48 hours to make these issues go away and that our decision was expected by the morning.

“Our team grew increasingly concerned about their safety in Nigeria and immediately departed.”

Binance boss open to settlement

Teng said their counsel declined the payment request because they did not consider it a legitimate settlement offer.

The CEO of Binance stated that the company is open to negotiating a settlement, but only if it has access to the petition and is fully informed about all the accusations made against it.

Furthermore, any agreement must be formalised in writing and signed by all parties involved.

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