Nigeria Demands Arrests of Binance Execs as Crypto Crackdown Intensifies

A Nigerian parliamentary committee is calling for the arrest of Binance’s executives for allegedly enabling a slew of financial crimes on their platform.

Per a report from Politics Nigeria , the House Committee on Financial Crimes has announced plans to recommend that Congress invoke the power to subpoena the crypto exchange’s executives after they failed to appear before the committee voluntarily.

The company’s leadership was originally called to Congress in response to allegations from the Empowerment for Unemployed Youths and Niger Delta Youths Council, which included terrorist financing, money laundering, and tax evasion. Binance opted to send legal representation instead, much to the committee’s disappointment.

“Binance is not here. We have taken a position on it in our last sitting that we are not going to entertain legal representation from Binance, and that position stands,” said committee chairman Ginger Obinna Onwusibe.

Binance counsel Senator Ihenyen reportedly said that the exchange was apprehensive about sending executives, given that two of its executives were detained last week. News of the detentions was previously reported by Bloomberg.

Last week, the two executives—an unnamed British and American citizen—were detained in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city. The detensions took place one day after they flew in to negotiate with the nation’s authorities regarding a ban on several crypto trading websites, including Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken.

Decrypt reached out to Binance for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Nigerian authorities began cracking down on crypto platforms following a rapid devaluation of the Naira, for which inflation rose to a multi-decade high of 29.9% in January. Such exchanges have become unofficial venues for establishing the Naira’s value relative to other currencies, and for accessing assets like Bitcoin, which proponents often call an inflation hedge.

Amid the chaos, Nigeria has ordered Binance to pay a $10 billion fine for allegedly manipulating foreign exchange rates and causing the Naira’s value to collapse.

Binance was already fined over $4 billion by the U.S. Department of Justice in November for flouting anti-money laundering controls, while its founder and ex-CEO Changpeng Zhao was ousted from the company. At the time, the settlement cleared Binance of pre-existing market manipulation charges.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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