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Binance CEO: How Nigerian officials demanded bribe from us

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Binance, a popular cryptocurrency trading platform, Richard Teng, has claimed that some unknown persons sought a bribe of cryptocurrency…

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Binance, a popular cryptocurrency trading platform, Richard Teng, has claimed that some unknown persons sought a bribe of cryptocurrency from its executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, before their detention on February 28, 2024.

Teng made the claim in a blog post released Tuesday, on Binance’s website.

The post detailed how the Binance executives tried to engage with Nigerian authorities, including a January 8 meeting in Abuja, before they were accused of criminal acts.

According to him, the meeting was set up with the Nigeria government through a committee consisting of about “30 agencies.”

He noted that the committee emphasized the serious nature of the meeting and their readiness to issue arrest warrants and restrict travel for Binance’s team.

it was however discovered that the committee lacks the actual authority to issue arrest warrants. The meeting was later postponed to January 11, 2024, Teng said.

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”.

Daily Trust had reported how Nigeria officials detained two senior Binance executives.

The two officials; Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British-Kenyan and Binance’s regional manager for Africa; and Gambaryan, a 39-year-old US citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, had arrived Nigeria in response to the country’s recent crackdown on various cryptocurrency trading platforms.

During their stay, they were apprehended by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), and their passports were confiscated.

Meanwhile, on March 24, a statement from ONSA confirmed that one of the executives, Anjarwalla, subsequently escaped from lawful custody.

However, the Federal Government said it is discussing with Interpol to secure an international arrest warrant for Anjarwalla and extradite him to Nigeria.