Binance CEO Faults Arrest of its Execs in Nigeria

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The CEO of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has condemned Nigeria’s recent arrest of its executives, labeling them as a dangerous precedent. This outcry comes after two of Binance’s executives who were invited by the government ended up being detained. The Nigerian took this action as part of a crackdown on crypto-related activities.

Richard Teng, the CEO, expressed his dismay at the detention of Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of financial crime compliance and a U.S. citizen. He also highlighted the case of Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, who fled Nigeria in March.

According to Teng, the ordeal began with meetings between Binance representatives and Nigerian authorities in January. However, matters escalated during a subsequent meeting on February 26, where authorities claimed Binance’s operations posed national security concerns. They demanded that Binance remove Nigeria’s currency, the naira, from its platform and furnish detailed information on all Nigerian users. Following this meeting, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were detained.

Teng criticized this course of action, stating, “To invite a company’s mid-level employees for collaborative policy meetings, only to detain them, has set a dangerous new precedent for all companies worldwide.” He emphasized the unjust detention of Gambaryan for over two months, attributing it to “spurious reasons.”

See Also: CBN Orders Closure of Cryptocurrency Accounts

In response to the situation, Binance announced in early March that it would halt all transactions involving the naira. Teng expressed disappointment that their drastic step did not lead to the release of their colleagues or further engagement with the Nigerian government to resolve concerns.

Despite the setbacks, Teng reiterated Binance’s commitment to engaging with Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to address any potential tax-related issues. He also advocated for Gambaryan’s release, asserting, “Our hope when we took this drastic step was that our colleagues would be released and Binance could continue to work with the Nigerian government to resolve any further concerns. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”

Source: Reuters

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