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Nigerian officials demanded bribe to end issues with FG – Binance CEO

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Mr Richard Teng, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Binance, a popular cryptocurrency platform has accused some Nigerian government officials of demanding large amounts of payments in digital currency to help resolve the face-off between them and federal government.

He made the shocking revelation in a blog post on Tuesday.

According to crypto chief, Binance legal representative declined the offer from those unnamed government officials.

NewsBand reported on February 28, that the federal government detained two top executives of Binance as part of a wider investigation bordering on illegal operations in the country and foreign exchange rate manipulations.

The detained executives included  Binance’s regional manager for Africa; 39-year-old US citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British-Kenyan who escaped from lawful detention two months ago in Nigeria.

The federal government on March 25, lodged a criminal charge against Binance for “tax evasion” — the same period Anjarwalla fled detention.

While speaking on company’s issues with the Nigerian government, Teng explained how the cryptocurrency exchange made attempt to engage with the authorities, including a meeting on January 8 in Abuja, where it was confronted with criminal allegations.

He said that despite requests, the crypto firm has still not received details of the allegations, saying, “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”.

The CEO said Binance clarified that it would engage in settlement negotiations on the conditions that the relevant petition or the details of all allegations were seen, adding that any settlement “must be official, recorded in writing, and signed by all relevant parties”.

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