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Nobody Demanded Any Money - FG Denies Binance CEO's Bribery Allegations

Posted by Amarachi on Wed 08th May, 2024 -

A prosecutor with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ekele Iheanacho, rejected Teng’s allegation and pledged to prosecute the case until its conclusion.

Tigran Gambaryan

The Tinubu-led Federal government has denied reports that it sought a bribe of cryptocurrency from Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, before their detention on February 28, 2024.

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, reiterated its resolve to see the criminal case against the crypto platform, Binance and its officials through to its logical end.

Recall that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Binance, Richard Teng, has alleged that some officials of the Nigerian government demanded a bribe from the company to make their investigation “go away.”

According to Teng, in a blog post on Tuesday, the company engaged with some government officials on January 8 in Abuja, during which the organization was accused of criminal activities bordering on illegal operations in the country and foreign exchange rate manipulations.

Top officials of the Bola Tinubu administration, speaking in response to bribery allegations by Binance CEO in a New York Times blog post, refuted the accusation that individuals demanded a $150 million cryptocurrency bribe to settle the criminal charge against the firm, deeming it false and unfounded.

According to The New York Times’ report on Tuesday, during a visit to Nigeria in January, Tigran Gambaryan, a compliance officer with the exchange, received an alarming message: The company was instructed to make a cryptocurrency payment of approximately $150 million within 48 hours.

Gambaryan, a former United States law enforcement agent, interpreted the message as a request for a bribe from someone within the Nigerian government.

Allegedly, the incident occurred before Gambaryan and his colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla, were arrested and held on the orders of the National Security Adviser.

Anjarwalla later escaped and has been found in Kenya, while Gambaryan has been detained at the Kuje Correctional Facility for the past four weeks, having been moved there from a safe house on April 8.

According to sources cited by NYT, Gambaryan reportedly wrote a three-page report describing the payment request and handed it over to Binance’s lawyers.

In a text message to NYT, the spokesperson for the ONSA, Zakari Mijinyawa, asserted that the Federal Government would present its case “on the strength of the facts and evidence, in accordance with due process.”

“We are confident that Nigeria has a good case. Binance equally will have every opportunity under the rule of law to make its case and see justice delivered,”
Mijinyawa said.

According to The PUNCH, a prosecutor with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ekele Iheanacho, rejected Teng’s allegation and pledged to prosecute the case until its conclusion.

Iheanacho, one of the lawyers prosecuting the Binance officials, said, ‘’Nobody demanded any money, the case is being taken to a logical conclusion. He’s making it up, although I am not aware of any such allegations. As far as I am concerned, the charges are going on, and we are making every effort to ensure that we get to a logical end.’’

The Media Adviser to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Kamarudeen Ogundele, referred inquiries to the information minister and the Presidency.


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