Binance CEO Expresses Concern: Nigeria’s Detention of Execs Sets Precedent

Binance CEO Expresses Concern: Nigeria's Detention of Execs Sets Precedent
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Binance CEO Expresses Concern: Nigeria’s Detention of Execs Sets Precedent

On Tuesday, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance leveled severe allegations against Nigeria, asserting that the country’s actions have set a dangerous precedent. This outcry comes after Binance executives were invited to Nigeria for discussions but were subsequently detained as part of a crackdown on cryptocurrency activities in the African nation.

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, is embroiled in legal proceedings in Nigeria. Two of its executives are facing trials on charges of tax evasion and money laundering. CEO Richard Teng condemned the detention of Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s Head of Financial Crime Compliance and a U.S. citizen, and the flight of Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, who fled Nigeria in March.

Teng revealed that Binance executives engaged in discussions with Nigerian authorities starting in January, culminating in a follow-up meeting on February 26. During this meeting, Nigerian authorities reportedly raised concerns regarding national security and demanded that Binance delist the naira currency from its platform while requiring detailed information on all Nigerian users. Subsequently, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were detained.

Teng decried Nigeria’s actions, stating that inviting mid-level employees for collaborative policy meetings only to detain them establishes a troubling precedent for companies worldwide. He emphasized that Gambaryan had been held in Nigeria for over two months on what he deemed “spurious reasons.”

In response to the situation, Binance announced the suspension of all transactions and trading involving the naira in early March. Teng expressed disappointment that their detained colleague was not released despite this step, hindering efforts to address concerns in collaboration with Nigerian authorities.

Teng urged for Gambaryan’s release and reiterated Binance’s commitment to engaging with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to address potential tax liabilities. The statement underscores Binance’s desire for an amicable resolution while highlighting the need for fair treatment of its employees and constructive dialogue between the company and Nigerian authorities.

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