Unknown persons from Nigeria sought bribes from our executives before detention — Binance CEO - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Tuesday 7 May 2024

Unknown persons from Nigeria sought bribes from our executives before detention — Binance CEO

Unknown persons from Nigeria sought bribes from our executives before detention — Binance CEO

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Binance, the world’s largest 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 on Monday, detailing how the Binance executives tried to engage with Nigerian authorities, including a January 8 meeting in Abuja, before they were accused of criminal acts.

He said 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.

However, it was discovered that the committee lacks the actual authority to issue arrest warrants.

The meeting was later postponed to January 11, 2024, Teng said.

The CEO stated that on the same day, January 8, some unknown persons approached their employees seeking bribes in cryptocurrency to “make the issues go away”.

“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. We, of course, declined the payment demand via our counsel, not viewing it to be a legitimate settlement offer,” Teng said.

Meeting with ONSA

Following the incident, the Binance CEO said their executives were then invited to meet with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), a move Binance believed would help resolve the issues diplomatically.

Meanwhile, Teng said the meeting was supposed to be a diplomatic effort to resolve issues, noting that the Nigerian government gave “multiple assurances that they would be granted safe passage for their meetings.”

Teng said the meeting was scheduled for “February 26, 2024, at 2 pm at ONSA’s offices in Abuja.”

“In their first meeting, they met with leaders from ONSA, the office of the President, the Central Bank, NFIU, EFCC, and the SEC.”

He said after the meeting, the executives, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, were told to wait outside shortly, only to be summoned back by the officials two hours later.

“After waiting more than two hours, the Binance employees were invited back into a meeting room albeit with different attendees than the ones announced — specifically, there were four members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“The leader of the group took on a hostile approach. He said that the issues involving Binance were of national security,” he wrote.

According to him, this led to the arrest and detention of the two executives.

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Source: Nairametrics

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