Nigerian Government Refutes Binance's $150 Million Bribery Allegation as Baseless - The Trent

2024-05-10 21:36:58

The Trent

ABUJA, Nigeria - The Federal Government of Nigeria has issued a strong rebuttal to accusations levied by cryptocurrency exchange Binance, dismissing claims of demanded bribery by government officials as a mere diversionary tactic.

In an emailed statement to The Trent on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, by Rabiu Ibrahim, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, the government labeled the allegations as unsubstantiated and part of a broader attempt by Binance to distract from its legal troubles within the country.

According to the press release, Binance's CEO Richard Teng recently alleged in a widely circulated blog post that unnamed Nigerian officials had demanded $150 million in cryptocurrency to quash a criminal probe into the company.

The government, however, has denounced these claims as baseless and an act of desperation by the company to cloud serious charges it faces, including money laundering, terrorism financing, and foreign exchange manipulation through its platform.

"The phantom bribe claim is 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," stated Ibrahim in the press release.

The statement also highlighted the recent legal actions against Binance's founder and former CEO, Changpeng Zhao, who was sentenced in the United States after pleading guilty to similar charges.

The government emphasised that Binance's current legal predicaments could only be resolved through compliance with judicial processes and not through media-driven narratives.

As Binance faces escalating legal challenges globally, the Nigerian government remains steadfast in its commitment to lawful investigations and adherence to international norms, unequivocally stating that it will not be swayed by any form of blackmail or media manipulation.

The full statement is republished below, unedited.

FEDERAL MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND NATIONAL ORIENTATION

The Federal Government of Nigeria is aware of attempts by Binance to launder its impaired image as an organisation that does not play by the rules and laws guiding business conduct in sovereign nations.

In a blog post that has now been published by many international media organisations, in an apparent well-coordinated public relations effort, Binance Chief Executive Officer Richard Teng made false allegations of bribery against unidentified Nigerian government officials who he claimed demanded $150m in cryptocurrency payments to resolve the ongoing criminal investigation against the company.

This claim by Binance CEO lacks any iota of substance. It is 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.

The facts of this matter remain 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.

While this 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. Working with the security agencies in Nigeria, Interpol is currently executing an international arrest warrant on the said fugitive.

The phantom bribe claim is 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.

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. 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.

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.

2024-05-10 News