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Binance CEO Claims Nigerian Officials Pushed Secret Settlement

Key Takeaways

  • Binance CEO Richard Teng exposed that a Nigerian official proposed the crypto exchange to pay a secret crypto payment to resolve allegations;
  • Binance declined the offer, opting for transparency;
  • Former IRS agent Tigran Gambaryan was detained in Nigeria, prompting Binance to suspend services and demand his release.
Binance CEO Claims Nigerian Officials Pushed Secret Settlement

Binance CEO Richard Teng has revealed attempts by Nigerian officials to orchestrate a secret crypto settlement with the crypto exchange during negotiations earlier this year.

The reveal came in a blog post in which Teng explained the background of the detainment of Tigran Gambaryan, a former US IRS agent and head of Binance's Financial Crime Compliance team, demanding his release.

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The Binance-Nigeria controversy unfolded as the crypto exchange engaged with Nigerian regulatory authorities and law enforcement to discuss operational compliance.

During these discussions, the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes (HCFC) allegedly threatened to arrest and restrict travel for Binance executives unless they attended a public investigative hearing scheduled for January 10.

However, before this hearing, an HCFC agent reportedly proposed Binance to pay a confidential crypto payment within 48 hours to quietly resolve allegations. Binance declined the offer, choosing instead to negotiate openly.

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.

Subsequently, another meeting was scheduled for February 26. Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, head of Binance Africa, agreed to participate, repeatedly being reassured that they would be "granted safe passage."

This reassurance, however, ended up being untrue, as both of the executives were detained. Anjarwalla, however, managed to escape this illegal custody, yet was found in Kenya and will potentially be extradited back to Nigeria to face legal issues.

Meanwhile, Gambaryan has been moved to Kuje prison and faces charges of money laundering.

Teng was highly critical of such actions by the government and emphasized that Gambaryan's role in the meeting was merely to contribute his expertise as a specialist in financial crime rather than to make important decisions or negotiate. He added:

The message from the Nigerian government is clear: we must detain an innocent, mid-level employee and a former US federal agent, and place him in a dangerous prison in order to control Binance.

In response to these incidents, Binance has taken measures to protect its staff and operations by suspending certain services in Nigeria.

This ongoing standoff underscores the complex dynamics between global financial entities like Binance and national regulatory bodies.

Aaron S., Editor-In-Chief
Having completed a Master’s degree in Economics, Politics, and Cultures of the East Asia region, Aaron has written scientific papers analyzing the differences between Western and Collective forms of capitalism in the post-World War II era.
With close to a decade of experience in the FinTech industry, Aaron understands all of the biggest issues and struggles that crypto enthusiasts face. He’s a passionate analyst who is concerned with data-driven and fact-based content, as well as that which speaks to both Web3 natives and industry newcomers.
Aaron is the go-to person for everything and anything related to digital currencies. With a huge passion for blockchain & Web3 education, Aaron strives to transform the space as we know it, and make it more approachable to complete beginners.
Aaron has been quoted by multiple established outlets, and is a published author himself. Even during his free time, he enjoys researching the market trends, and looking for the next supernova.

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