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Features, The Grid

Binance Standoff With Nigeria Government: All You Need to Know 

Binance CEO Richard Teng recently accused Nigeria’s officials of a bribery attempt, following the detention of two of the firm’s executives by the Nigerian government over 70 days ago.

  • Johnson Opeisa
  • 10th May 2024

On Tuesday, May 7, Richard Teng, the Chief Executive Officer of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform, made a startling revelation by accusing certain Nigerian officials of attempting bribery with the firm’s representatives in Abuja.


What happened?


Over 70 days ago, the Nigerian government during a probe into an alleged market manipulation detained two Binance executives – Tigran Gambaryan, erstwhile US federal agent and head of Binance’s anti-crime team alongside Nadeem Anjarwalla, the firm’s regional manager for Africa.


The executives’ visit to Nigeria according to reports, is in connection with the Federal Government’s decision to halt speculation on forex trading, in a bid to stabilise the naira. While both of them were detained, Anjarwalla escaped custody and fled the country on March 22, while his colleague—Gambaryan, and their company Binance—was accused of money laundering and foreign exchange manipulation.


Gambaryan on Monday, April 8 appeared before Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in the FCT. TechCabal reports that the ex-US agent pleaded not guilty to all four counts of money laundering. He was consequently remanded to Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja where he has been hitherto.


Binance CEO Teng in his statement said following an invitation from the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes (HCFC) to an investigative hearing in December 2023, some of the company’s employees honoured the HCFC’s hearing on January 8.



The meeting was said to be chaired by the Honourable Peter Akpanke, the Honourable Philip Agbese, and the Honourable Peter Aniekwe, as well as a clerk House of Representatives building in Abuja.


While the face-off was adjourned to January 10 for a public hearing of some sort, Teng said some unidentified person approached the departing Binance employee to make payment in settlement of the allegations levelled against them.


Member of the house Kama NkemKanma on Wednesday, May 8, tagged Teng’s statement as false, and an attempt to sully The House.


We have never invited this person before. This House has never had a meeting with this person before. And this person woke up one morning and decided to accuse this House of demanding a bribe from them. This House can never allow itself to be embarrassed or talked down on in any way,” the Honourable said as quoted by Premium Times.


While this is largely believed to be false, tensions between Binance and the Nigerian government persist.


Zakari Mijinyawa, a spokesperson for the Office of the National Security Adviser told the New York Times, “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.”


The Joe Biden administration is yet to issue any statement, even as it concerns the detainment of a US citizen and ex-federal agent.


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