FG tackles Binance bribery allegation, says no officials demanded any money

The Federal government has denied reports that it sought a bribe of cryptocurrency from Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, before their detention on February 28, 2024.

Recall that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Binance, Richard Teng, has alleged that some officials of the Nigerian government demanded a bribe from the company to make their investigation “go away.”

Responding in a statement, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Rabiu Ibrahim said the government is  aware of attempts by Binance to launder its impaired image as an organisation that does not play by the rules and laws guiding business conduct in sovereign nations.

According to his statement, “In a blog post that has now been published by many international media organisations, in an apparent well-coordinated public relations effort, Binance Chief Executive Officer Richard Teng made false allegations of bribery against unidentified Nigerian government officials who he claimed demanded $150million in cryptocurrency payments to resolve the ongoing criminal investigation against the company.

“This claim by Binance CEO lacks any iota of substance. It is nothing but a diversionary tactic and an attempted act of blackmail by a company desperate to obfuscate the grievous criminal charges it is facing in Nigeria.

“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.

“While this lawful investigation was going on, an executive of Binance, who was in court-sanctioned protective custody, escaped from Nigeria, and he is now a fugitive from the law. Working with the security agencies in Nigeria, Interpol is currently executing an international arrest warrant on the said fugitive.

“The phantom bribe claim is part of an orchestrated international campaign by this company that is facing criminal prosecution in many countries including the United States, to undermine the Nigerian government.

“Just a week ago, the founder and former CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, was sentenced to prison in the United States, after pleading guilty to charges very similar to what Binance is being investigated for in Nigeria. In addition, Zhao agreed to pay a fine of $50 million, while Binance is liable for $4.3 billion in fines and forfeitures to the US Government.

“We would like to remind Binance that it will not clear its name in Nigeria by resorting to fictional claims and mudslinging media campaigns. The only way to resolve its issues will be by submitting itself to unobstructed investigation and judicial due process.”

He added that the government of Nigeria would continue to act within its laws and international norms, stressing that it will not succumb to any form of blackmail from any entity, local or foreign.

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