Nigeria denies “phantom” Binance bribe claims

Nigeria’s federal government refuted claims from Binance CEO Richard Teng, accusing officials of demanding a “significant payment” to resolve ongoing disputes.

In an official statement on May 8, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Rabiu Ibrahim, said that the “phantom bribe claim” made by Binance and its CEO was made to undermine criminal prosecution through a mudslinging media campaign. 

“Binance Chief Executive Officer Richard Teng made false allegations of bribery against unidentified Nigerian government officials who he claimed demanded $150 million in cryptocurrency payments to resolve the ongoing criminal investigation against the company.

This 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.”

Nigerian government statement

Nigeria’s pushback on the allegations explicitly stated the amount that Teng claims was requested. However, the exchange boss’s blog post on May 7 only mentioned a secret crypto payment expected within 48 hours to “make these issues go away.”

Binance did not immediately reply to commentary requests from

Binance’s Nigerian tangle

The response follows Teng’s blog post detailing his company’s saga with Nigerian authorities. This years-long affair has resulted in a national investigation into alleged money laundering, terrorism financing, and foreign exchange manipulation through illegal trading.

Two executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwall, were also arrested in February and charged with criminal violations. Gambaryan is awaiting trial and a bail hearing, while Anjarwall escaped custody and was extradited from Kenya to Nigeria late last month. 

Binance was ordered to delist the naira from its P2P facilities as part of a crackdown on crypto trading in the West African nation. An Abuja High Court also compelled the exchange to submit granular data on all local crypto users on its platform. 

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