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Binance CEO Says Nigerian Official Requested Bribe

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Binance CEO Says Nigerian Official Requested Bribe

The CEO of the well-known cryptocurrency platform Binance asserted that large cryptocurrency payments were required by some unidentified individuals posing as Nigerian government officers in order to “go away” from their difficulties in the nation.

According to a blog post published on Binance’s website on Tuesday, May 7, Richard Teng, the company’s CEO, made the assertion. Teng succeeded founder and former CEO Changpeng Zhao in that role.

He clarified that the request was submitted via a nearby company it employed.

Speaking on Binance’s problems with the Nigerian government, Teng described how the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world attempted to communicate with the authorities, even going so far as to meet with them on January 8 in Abuja and be met with criminal accusations.

Teng claimed that in spite of several inquiries, Binance has not yet received information about the accusations. As a result, “and our employees, therefore, inquired if there was an opportunity to submit our responses in writing and in the absence of a public hearing.”

“There were a number of reasons for that, including the sensitivity of the information and getting the opportunity to see the allegations in full and prepare a thorough substantive response,” he said.

“The meeting ended with the Chair confirming they would consider the matter and revert through Binance’s local counsel.

“However, 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.

“Later that day, our local counsel — representing us at that time — was summoned by the Committee through someone purporting to be their agent, who relayed the Committee’s terms and instructed our local counsel to advise us.

“Counsel reported back that he had been presented with a demand for a significant payment in cryptocurrency to be paid in secret within 48 hours to make these issues go away and that our decision was expected by the morning.

“Our team grew increasingly concerned about their safety in Nigeria and immediately departed.”

Teng said the payment request was declined “via our counsel, not viewing it to be a legitimate settlement offer”.

According to the CEO, Binance made it clear that it would only negotiate a settlement if the pertinent petition or all of the charges’ specifics were viewed.

He wrote: “We, of course, declined the payment demand via our counsel, not viewing it to be a legitimate settlement offer, and clarified that we would engage in settlement negotiations on the following conditions:

“Binance needs to see the relevant petition and/or the details of all allegations.

“Any settlement must be official, recorded in writing, and signed by all relevant parties.

“Any settlement must encompass all relevant agencies and be in full and final settlement of all allegations, including any potential historic tax liabilities, if applicable, with guarantees.

“While the exact terms of any settlement may have to remain private, there would have to be some public acknowledgement that a resolution has been reached.”

The Binance boss also requested that the company’s “contractors and employees are not to be intimidated, harassed, or detained.”

He claimed that the requirements were communicated by the Binance counsel, to which the Nigerian authorities first protested before eventually agreeing.

Two Binance representatives arrived in Nigeria to discuss additional terms with the Nigerian government as part of Binance’s ongoing engagement with that country.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British-Kenyan who serves as Binance’s regional manager for Africa, and Tigran Gambaryan, a 39-year-old US citizen who serves as Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, were taken into custody on February 28.

Later, Anjarwalla escaped from custody and departed Nigeria. The Nigerian government charged Binance with a crime on March 25th, citing “tax evasion.”

Teng appealed to the government to “Let Tigran go home to his family, and then Binance will work through the same process that we have done with Nigeria’s law enforcement community voluntarily more than 600 times in the past.”

He added: “We will always work to protect innocent users, and bad actors are not welcome on our platform. We will work tirelessly with public and private partners to remove them. Furthermore, we will continue engagement with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service on resolving potential historic tax liabilities.”

A Gentle Reminder: Every obstacle is a stepping stone, every morning; a chance to go again, and those little steps take you closer to your dream.

Nnamdi Okoli

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