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Blackmail won’t save you from prosecution, FG replies Binance

  • Reps deny bribe allegation, to probe Anjarwalla’s escape


The federal government has accused Binance, a cryptocurrency platform, of blackmail following the company’s claims that Nigerian officials demanded $150 million in cryptocurrency as a bribe to settle the prosecution of its executives in Nigeria.

Richard Teng, Binance’s CEO, in a blog post, alleged that unidentified individuals in Nigeria sought significant payments in digital currency to resolve the company’s issues in the country.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s Regional Manager for Africa, and Tigran Gambaryan, the company’s head of financial crime compliance, were on February 28 detained in Nigeria.

The detention was part of an investigation into Binance’s alleged illegal activities in Nigeria and manipulation of foreign exchange rates.

Anjarwalla fled detention on March 22.

Idris Mohammed, Minister of Information and National Orientation, on Wednesday, described Teng’s statements as a diversionary tactic and attempted blackmail by a company seeking to obscure the serious criminal charges it faces in Nigeria.

The minister, in a statement by Rabiu Ibrahim, his media aide, said Binance Founder, Changpeng Zhao, has been convicted of money laundering in the United States, implying that the crypto firm should subject itself to investigation.

The statement said, “The claim by Binance CEO lacks any iota of substance. It is nothing but a diversionary tactic and an attempted act of blackmail by a company desperate to obfuscate the grievous criminal charges it is facing in Nigeria.

“We would like to remind Binance that it will not clear its name in Nigeria by resorting to fictional claims and mudslinging media campaigns. The only way to resolve its issues will be by submitting itself to unobstructed investigation and judicial due process,” he added.

No lawmaker demanded bribe from Binance – Reps

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has refuted the bribery allegations levelled against it by Binance.

During yesterday’s plenary session, Rep Kama Nkemkanma from Ebonyi, while raising a “point of privilege,” emphasised that House members had never met with Binance executives and that no bribe had been requested as claimed.

Speaker Tajudeen Abbas while ruling on the point of privilege, said “Nothing like that has ever happened. No committee of the house has ever engaged this man.”

The House also resolved to probe the circumstances that led to the escape of Anjarwalla from the custody of the National Security Adviser (NSA) after debating a motion by Rep. Dominic Okafor (Anambra).

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