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Binance Rejects Secret Crypto Settlement as Nigerian Authorities Detain Compliance Chief

Recent revelations have surfaced regarding the interactions between Nigerian officials and Binance representatives, implicating that Nigerian authorities attempted to pressure Binance into an undisclosed settlement paid in cryptocurrency.

These events reportedly transpired during meetings early in 2024.

Binance’s CEO, Richard Teng, has spoken out about the situation, specifically addressing the ongoing detention of Tigran Gambaryan, a former agent of the United States Internal Revenue Service and the current head of Binance’s financial crime compliance team. Gambaryan was detained in Nigeria while on a business trip.

According to Teng, this incident marks a concerning precedent as it reflects the potential risks global companies may face when operating internationally.

Teng’s statement condemned the Nigerian government’s approach, claiming it set a “dangerous new precedent for all companies worldwide” following the detainment of Gambaryan and another employee.

He narrated how Binance made efforts to engage positively with Nigerian officials, participating in regulatory discussions and collaborating with law enforcement to address any concerns transparently.

The matter escalated after Binance was invited to a public investigative hearing by the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes (HCFC).

Despite being prepared to address any allegations in a public forum, Teng noted that the details of the accusations were not provided to them, leading to their request to respond in writing, a proposal still pending response from the committee.

Amidst these discussions, Binance personnel were approached by unidentified individuals offering to settle the allegations secretly using cryptocurrency, demanding a substantial payment within 48 hours.

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Teng disclosed that their local legal counsel was presented with these terms by an agent of the HCFC, emphasizing the secretive and urgent nature of the deal. Binance declined the offer and continued to seek a diplomatic resolution to the matter.

Following the refusal, further meetings were arranged involving representatives from various Nigerian governmental bodies, including the National Security Adviser’s office and the Central Bank of Nigeria, among others.

Despite the complexity of the situation, Teng stated that Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, head of Binance Africa, were assured of their safety for these meetings.

However, the situation worsened when Nigerian officials detained Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, confiscated their passports and phones, and demanded that Binance comply with specific requests, including delisting the Nigerian naira from their platform.

In response to the escalating demands and the continued detention of its employees, Binance has temporarily shut down certain services in Nigeria, hoping to secure their release and resolve the situation amicably.

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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