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Nigeria vs Binance: Summoning Richard Teng

Nigeria's House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has called for Binance CEO Richard Teng to appear before the committee for the exchange's involvement in financial crimes

Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu / Unsplash

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Binance has made yet another enemy on the international stage. Already blocked in the UK, Netherlands, Canada, Malaysia, and the US, Binance has now found itself in Nigeria's bad books.

On Friday, Nigeria's House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes called for Binance CEO Richard Teng to appear before the committee by 4 March.

The Central Bank of Nigeria alleges that the exchange was involved in financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorism financing.

Ginger Onwusibe, the chairman of the committee, warned that the committee would exert ist constitutional powers if Teng failed to show.

“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has empowered us to protect Nigerians from financial crimes, especially by foreign companies," Onwusibe said.

“We also have to protect and defend the country’s finances, especially now that the country is nose-diving into recession. The allegations of terrorism financing, money laundering and tax evasion amongst others levelled against Binance are damning enough."

Nigeria is currently facing a recession and is seeking to collect its due taxes. “At this material time, we need all the tax dollars to block the leaks and channels to financing terror,” Onwusibe added,

“It is also our duty to do everything in our power to protect Nigerian investors from predatory firms, and no distraction and manipulation can stop us.

“You cannot run a company with over 10 million Nigerians on your platform without paying tax and having a physical office where Nigerians can lodge their complaints when they experience any challenge with your service. The era of exploitation is over and all culprits must be held accountable.”

Last week, Judge Richard Jones in Seattle signed off on the historic $4.3 billion fine slapped onto Binance.

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The historic plea deal with US prosecutors is now set in stone, with the settlement approved by a federal judge.

This decision comes after Binance's admission of guilt in a case that spotlighted lapses in the exchange's internal controls, which failed to report over 100,000 suspicious transactions linked to terrorist organizations and other illicit activities.

Also last week, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ordered telecom companies to block crypto exchanges Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken.

Additionally, Nigeria’s Department of State Security detained two Binance executives and confiscated their passports. The Central Bank of Nigeria's governor, Olayemi Cardoso, said Binance Nigeria witnessed suspicious flows” of money in 2023.

“In the case of Binance, in the last one year alone, $26 billion has passed through Binance Nigeria from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify,” he said.

Binance was also reported to have been ordered to pay $10 billion in compensation as the exchange and its executives have manipulated foreign exchange rates through currency speculation.

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The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission has given Binance until the end of February to address allegations of operating without a license

However, Binance has claimed it has not been informed of a $10 billion fine, and Bayo Onanuga, a spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu, clarified, “I said our government may impose heavy fines on Binance for what happened. I never said Binance had been informed about the fines or that it would definitely be $10 billion. I only said the amount may be imposed, which is because nothing has been finalized yet.”