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Nigeria's detainment of Binance Executives sets alarming precedent, CEO warns

Nigeria's detainment of Binance Executives sets alarming precedent, CEO warns
FILE - An advertisement of Bitcoin, one of the cryptocurrencies, is displayed on a building in Hong Kong, on Nov. 18, 2021.   -  
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Kin Cheung/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved


The CEO of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, has voiced strong criticism against Nigeria's recent actions, accusing the country of establishing a troubling precedent.

Richard Teng, CEO of Binance, condemned Nigeria's detention of two of its executives during a crackdown on cryptocurrency.

The executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, face separate trials on charges of tax evasion and money laundering. Teng emphasized that Binance is challenging these allegations.

Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and head of financial crime compliance at Binance, was held in Nigeria for over two months, while Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan regional manager for Africa, fled the country in March.

Teng revealed that Binance executives initially engaged in discussions with Nigerian authorities in January, followed by a subsequent meeting on February 26. During this meeting,

Nigerian authorities labeled the issues concerning Binance as matters of national security. They demanded the delisting of the naira currency from Binance's platform and requested detailed information on all Nigerian users.

The detention of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla after collaborative meetings with Nigerian authorities was strongly condemned by Teng. He stated that this action sets a dangerous precedent for companies worldwide.

Binance halted all transactions and trading in naira in early March in response to the situation, with the hope that their colleagues would be released and dialogue with the Nigerian government could continue.

Teng emphasized the need for Gambaryan's release and expressed Binance's commitment to resolving any issues with Nigerian authorities, including engaging with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on potential historic tax liabilities.

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