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Nigerian Refutes Binance CEO's Bribery Allegations Amid Legal Battle

Nigerian Refutes Binance CEO's Bribery Allegations Amid Legal Battle

May 8, 2024

Nigerian Refutes Binance CEO's Bribery Allegations Amid Legal Battle

In a sharp rebuke on Wednesday, Nigerian officials dismissed claims made by Binance CEO Richard Teng that they had solicited a $150 million bribe, branding these allegations as unfounded and an attempt to derail the serious charges faced by the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange.

Binance is currently embroiled in a legal conflict with Nigerian authorities, facing trials on charges of tax evasion and laundering over $35 million through its platform. In the midst of this battle, the company's head of financial crime compliance, Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen, is being detained, while British-Kenyan executive Nadeem Anjarwalla has left the country.

The controversy deepened when CEO Richard Teng, in a blog post, accused unnamed Nigerian officials of extortion. In response, Rabiu Ibrahim, the spokesperson for Nigeria's Information Ministry, issued a statement denying these allegations. He stated, "The claims lack any iota of substance," adding that it was a "diversionary tactic" and an "act of blackmail" by Binance, which is seeking to undermine the legal process.

"The facts of this matter remain that Binance is being investigated in Nigeria for allowing its platform to be used for money laundering, terrorism financing, and foreign exchange manipulation through illegal trading," Ibrahim elaborated.

The Nigerian authorities further suggest that Binance's bribery narrative is an element of a broader strategy to discredit the investigations against them, pointing to the company's similar legal challenges in the United States.

Binance has not provided immediate comments following the latest developments. However, in a previous statement on Tuesday, the company criticized Nigerian authorities for what it deemed a dangerous precedent, claiming that its executives were invited to discussions only to be detained.

The current dispute has led to Binance ceasing operations in Nigeria, with the Nigerian government accusing the exchange of contributing to the country's monetary issues.


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