Tinubu’s government demanded $150 million bribe to make ‘illegal’ Nigeria charges go away: Binance CEO

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Nigerian government officials have been accused of soliciting bribes to the tune of $150 million from global cryptocurrency giant Binance, the firm’s executive said on Tuesday. 

Richard Teng said the Tinubu administration was keen on extracting the large sum from the company in order to make the recent fraud charges “go away” shortly after a meeting was held with Nigerian lawmakers. It was not immediately clear whether or not lawmakers took part in demanding the alleged bribes. The company first disclosed the amount of the bribes to the New York Times.

Mr Teng and other Binance executives have insisted the allegations were meritless and illegal and vowed not to be strong-armed into making any illegal payment. 

“A significant payment in cryptocurrency to be paid in secret within 48 hours to make these issues go away,” Mr Teng wrote in a blog post posted on Binance website Tuesday. 

“The message from the Nigerian government is clear,” the Binance’s chief executive added. “We must detain an innocent, mid-level employee and a former U.S. federal agent, and place him in a dangerous prison in order to control Binance.”

 Binance said it was asked to pay the alleged bribe into a secret crypto account on its exchange.

Binance had previously informed Peoples Gazette that it wouldn’t yield to demand to pay a ransom over the matter.

A spokesperson for the Nigerian national security agency did not immediately return a request seeking comments. A spokesperson for the Nigerian parliament, which has launched a committee to probe the charges against Binance, declined comments on Tuesday morning.

A spokesperson for Binance did not immediately return a request seeking clarification about the identities of those involved in soliciting the alleged bribes.

Binance and Nigeria have been locked in a fierce legal battle since Tigran Gambaryan, an official with the crypto giant, was arrested in February. National security adviser Nuhu Ribadu assumed responsibility for the detention, accusing the company of driving down the value of Nigerian naira, among other economic sabotage claims.

Binance has denied all the charges, and another official initially detained with Mr Gambaryan escaped custody days after they were detained. 

Mr Gambaryan has been facing charges before a federal court in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, as his wife and children continue to mount pressure on U.S. authorities to help free the American citizen, whom they said did nothing wrong. 

Source: People’s gazette

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