Nigerian Authorities Blame Binance for 70% Naira Devaluation, Move to Issue Arrest Warrant Against CEO

The country's central bank claims the exchange manipulated foreign exchange rates through currency speculation and rate-fixing which led to the local currency losing nearly 70% of its value in recent months.

Nigerian Authorities Blame Binance for 70% Naira Devaluation, Move to Issue Arrest Warrant Against CEO
Source: Emmanuel Ikwuegbu.
  • "Nigeria's central bank governor Olayemi Cardoso said Binance Nigeria had moved $26bn worth of untraceable funds," reported BBC.
  • "The collapse of the naira has worsened the cost-of-living crisis. High food and commodity prices - including fuel and transport - have led to protests in recent weeks."
“Binance platform harbours people who fix the exchange rate which quickly affects the Nigerian economy for the time when Nigeria is trying to stabilize the economy. The platform fixes the exchange rate for the country and it is an illegal rate. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the only authority that can fix the exchange rate for the country,” President's special advisor Bayo Onanuga told BBC.
  • "Cryptocurrencies are not illegal in Nigeria but firms must register in order to operate there, the government says. A special adviser to Nigeria's president told the BBC that Binance had failed to do this."
  • BBC also reported that Nigerian government demanded $10bn compensation from Binance, though a spokesperson for the president said his statement to the BBC was misrepresented in the media.
“I said our government may impose heavy fines on Binance for what happened. I never said Binance had been informed about the fines or that it would definitely be $10 billion. I only said the amount may be imposed, which is because nothing has been finalised yet,” Onanuga told The People's Gazette.
  • As well as the collapse of the naira, the government said cryptocurrency is used for money-laundering and funding terror.
  • The House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Crimes summoned Binance CEO Richard Teng to appear before it by March 4. Teng did not show up at the hearing today.
  • As a result, "The House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has recommended the arrest of the Chief Executive Officer of Binance over alleged tax invasion and money laundering in Nigeria. The recommendation followed a motion by Rep. Isah Dogonyaro at a public hearing on Monday in Abuja," reports NewsWireNGR.
“This committee has resolved to recommend to the house to invoke its constitutional powers by issuing a subpoena and a warrant for Binance executives to be arrested and brought to this committee to answer these questions on terrorism, money laundering, and other financial crimes as stated in the petition including evasion of tax,” said Chairman of the committee, Rep. Ginger Obinna.
  • Last week, two senior executives at Binance have been detained in Nigeria when they flew into Nigeria following a ban on their website, reported Financial Times. The officials were also pressured to disclose a list of Nigerians on their platform.
  • Previously, the telecoms regulator ordered telecoms companies to block access to some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, Coinbase and Kraken.
“You cannot run a company with over 10 million Nigerians on your platform without paying tax and having a physical office where Nigerians can lodge their complaints when they experience any challenge with your service. The era of exploitation is over and all culprits must be held accountable,” Ginger Onwusibe, chairman of the Committee on Financial Crimes, said, according to Punch.
  • “Our aim is to chart a good relationship with the government and the people of Nigeria. We want to see our services restored in Nigeria very soon, but we have no intention of paying fines for personnel or services,” Binance told The People's Gazette.
  • Last Wednesday, Binance disabled its peer-to-peer trading for Nigerian users. With the disabling of the P2P function for Nigerian users, Nigerians might no longer be able to trade on Binance. 

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