Binance Accuses Nigerian Officials Of Demanding $150m Bribe, FG Assures Of Due Process

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Recently, the Nigerian government cracked down on the cryptocurrency platform in a bid to strengthen the naira. Among other charges filed by the current administration against Binance were tax evasion, currency speculation, and money laundering to the tune of $35,400,000.

Binance Chief Executive Officer, Richard Teng, made the bribery allegation in a blog post published by the New York Times on Tuesday.

According to the NYT report, Tigran Gambaryan, a compliance officer with the exchange, claimed to have received an unsettling message on a trip to Nigeria in January.

“On a trip to Nigeria in January, Tigran Gambaryan, a compliance officer for the giant cryptocurrency exchange Binance, received an unsettling message: The company had 48 hours to make a payment of roughly $150 million in crypto,” the report said.

Gambaryan, a former United States law enforcement agent, said he understood the message as a request for a bribe from someone in President Bola Tinubu’s government.

“Mr. Gambaryan, a former U.S. law enforcement agent, understood the message as a request for a bribe from someone in the Nigerian government, according to five people familiar with the matter and messages reviewed by The New York Times. He and a group of his Binance colleagues had just met with Nigerian legislators, who accused the company of tax violations and threatened to arrest its employees.”

It was gathered that the incident allegedly took place before Gambaryan and a colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla, were arrested and detained on the orders of the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu. Anjarwalla subsequently escaped and has been traced to Kenya.

Since April 8, Gambaryan has been transferred from a safe house to the Kuje Correctional Centre Abuja. Both Binance and Gambaryan are prosecuted by the Federal Government for tax evasion and money laundering.

In his response, the spokesman for the Office of the National Security Adviser, Zakari Mijinyawa, assured that the Federal Government will follow due process.

Mijinyawa, according to a text sent to New York Times said the government would make its case “on the strength of the facts and evidence, in accordance with due process.”

“We are confident that Nigeria has a good case. Binance equally will have every opportunity under the rule of law to make its case and see justice delivered,” Mijinyawa said.

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