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Suspicious $26bn passed through Binance in one year, says Cardoso

Detained Binance executive sues Ribadu, EFCC Detained Binance executive sues Ribadu, EFCC

Olayemi Cardoso, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says $26 billion passed through Binance Nigeria from unidentified sources in one year.

Cardoso disclosed this to journalists on Tuesday after the committee’s meeting at the CBN headquarters in Abuja.

In June 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had said the operation of Binance Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Binance, was illegal.

Cardoso’s comments come amid recent media reports of a clampdown on crypto exchanges — including Binance — by the federal government. 

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Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser to President Bola Tinubu on information and strategy, had posted some of the reports on X on February 24, 2024 — an act that could be seen as a confirmation of the development.

Prior to this, Onanuga had called for a ban on Binance and other crypto platforms operating in Nigeria to curb foreign exchange (FX) rate distortions.

Speaking on the matter, Cardoso said the apex bank is collaborating with the SEC to ensure there is no manipulation in the FX market.

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“We are concerned that certain practices go on that indicate illicit flows going through a number of these entities, suspicious flows at best,” the CBN governor said.

“In the case of Binance, in the last one year alone, $26bn has passed through Nigeria from sources/users who we cannot adequately identify.

“There’s a lot that is going on now as a result of collaboration between the different agencies which includes EFCC, the police, and of course, the office of the NSA.

“And in due course, as we progress and have more information to share, we will certainly share.

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“But suffice to say that we are determined to do everything it takes to ensure that we take charge of our market or put it differently to not allow others to manipulate our markets in a way that ends us distortionary and sub-optimises for all Nigerians.”

He added that the apex bank will ensure that this “type of infraction” does not take place.

On February 20, 2024, the CBN and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) announced a partnership to investigate and penalise those involved in illicit activities within the FX market.

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