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Reps panel: Binance’s bribery claim an attempt to distract Nigerians from alleged crimes

Reps panel: Binance’s bribery claim an attempt to distract Nigerians from alleged crimes
May 15
09:24 2024

The  house of representatives committee on financial crimes says the bribery allegation by Binance is an attempt to divert attention from the alleged crimes against them in Nigeria. 

Last Tuesday, the cryptocurrency giant said some unknown persons in Nigeria demanded huge payments in digital currency to make their “problems in the country go away”.

BACKGROUND

The house committee on financial crimes has been investigating Binance for multiple crimes, including alleged money laundering, illegal operations, financial terrorism, and tax evasion.

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On February 28, the federal government detained two top executives of Binance, as part of a probe into illegal operations in the country and forex manipulations.

The detained executives included Nadeem Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British-Kenyan and Binance’s regional manager for Africa; and Tigran Gambaryan, a 39-year-old US citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance.

Anjarwalla escaped from custody in March but was reportedly rearrested in Kenya in April.

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On March 5, the Nigerian government filed a criminal charge against Binance for “tax evasion” — the same period Anjarwalla escaped detention.

Last Wednesday, the house of representatives denied demanding bribe from Binance, saying “nothing like that has ever happened”.

‘BINANCE BLACKMAILING LAWMAKERS’

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Ginger Onwusibe, chair of the committee, said the bribery allegation by Binance is a red herring.

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“The sophisticated criminality of Binance is clearly demonstrated by its actions in organising and carrying out the escape from the lawful custody of the office of the national security adviser (ONSA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the 23rd day of March 2024, of its employee, Mr Nadeem Anjarwalla, using forged Kenyan passport while his genuine British passport is still in the custody of the authorities,” Onwusibe said.

“It is important to emphasize that Nigerian security and regulatory agencies such as the ONSA, EFCC, NFIU, SEC, and  CBN were already investigating the alleged criminal activities of Binance independent of the petitions before the committee.

“Clearly, the criminal activities of Binance in Nigeria had gained notoriety. Indeed, the criminal activities of Binance is not just a Nigerian issue but a global problem.

“The committee will continue with its functions and assignments undeterred.

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“We recognise that the blackmail by Binance is merely an attempt to distract and draw attention away from the serious allegations of criminality against it which is now compounded by its role in the security breach of the sovereign Nigerian state.”

The committee said it will continue its work with “integrity, transparency and competence” and will not be “diminished or deflated by the shenanigans of Binance and other enemies of Nigeria”.

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