Federal Gov’t Dismisses Binance’s $150m Bribery Allegation

Federal Gov't Dismisses Binance's $150m Bribery Allegation

The Federal Government of Nigeria has firmly refuted claims made by one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance, over alleged $150m bribe demand by government officials.

Binance’s CEO, Richard Teng, had alleged that Nigerian officials demanded a staggering $150 million in cryptocurrency to resolve an ongoing investigation into the company by the Nigerian authorities.

But, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, in a statement issued to journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, said the claim by Binance CEO lacked any iota of substance. He said it was 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.

Idris reiterated that the facts of the matter remains 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.

He further said while a 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.

He, however, said that working with the security agencies in Nigeria, INTERPOL is currently executing an international arrest warrant on the said fugitive.

He noted that the phantom bribe claim was 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.

He emphasised that 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.

The Minister said 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 said.

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

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