Transparency and Integrity


How Nigerian Government Officials Demanded Over N207Billion Bribe To Make Charges Against Binance, Executives Go Away –Trading Platform CEO


Binance Holdings Reveal How Nigerian Authorities Demanded Large Amount Of Money As A Bribe To Make The Money Laundering Trial Initiated Against Two Of Its Executives Go Away.

..... Binance, Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and head of financial crime and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British Kenyan, are facing trial for laundering more than $35 million

A global cryptocurrency trading platform, Binance Holdings Ltd has disclosed that Nigerian authorities demanded a large amount of money as a bribe to make the money laundering trial initiated against two of its executives go away.

Binance, Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and head of financial crime and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British Kenyan, are facing trial for laundering more than $35 million.

The suit was filed by Nigeria's anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Bloomberg reports that Binance Chief Executive Officer Richard Teng made the claim in a blog on Monday, detailing how the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange tried to engage with Nigerian authorities, including having a meeting which was held in Abuja on January 8, 2024.

“As our employees were leaving the venue, they were approached by unknown persons who suggested to them to make a payment in settlement of the allegations,” Teng wrote.

After that incident, Binance’s lawyer was “presented with a demand for a significant payment in cryptocurrency to be paid in secret within 48 hours to make these issues go away,” Teng wrote.

The amount in question was $150 million (N207,304,500,000), the New York Times reported separately, without revealing the identities of those involved.

Nigeria, which blames crypto speculators for some of the naira’s depreciation against the US dollar, denied this allegation.

“Investigators are confident that the sequence of events is not as Binance has indicated, nor the material facts,” said Zakari Mijinyawa, spokesman for Nigeria’s National Security Adviser.

“It will of course be for the courts to decide, and for due process to be followed and justice delivered,” he added.

The incident marks the latest legal problems for Binance, whose founder Changpeng Zhao was ordered on May 1 to spend four months in prison in the US for failures that allowed cybercriminals and terrorist groups to freely trade on its platform. Binance in November agreed to pay $4.3 billion to resolve the US allegations.

In Nigeria, the confrontation led to the arrest of two of its staff after they returned in late February for further talks. One of them fled, but Tigran Gambaryan has been jailed at the Kuje correctional centre in Abuja and will go on trial this month to face charges of tax evasion, currency speculation and money laundering.

Teng said Gambaryan and his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla, who later escaped from custody, were given repeated assurances they would be granted safe passage.

“To invite a company’s mid-level employees for collaborative policy meetings, only to detain them, has set a dangerous new precedent for all companies worldwide,” he said.

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