Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Nigeria slams $10 billion fine on Binance

The Nigerian government is demanding at least $10 billion as retribution from Binance amid crackdown on the crypto exchange platform as one of the moves to salvage the value of the nation’s local currency.

Bayo Onanuga, special adviser on information and strategy to President Bola Tinubu, made this known Friday morning in an interview with the BBC.

Binance profited substantially from its “illegal transactions” in Nigeria while the nation suffered huge losses, Mr Onanuga said during the interview.

There were reports earlier that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) confirmed that the crypto exchange platform is being investigated by the Nigerian authorities.

Binance executives had arrived in Nigeria earlier in the week to negotiate with the government amid the crackdown. However, the meetings were deadlocked as Binance officials declined to meet some of the demands put forward by the Nigerian government.

They were also accused of operating a business worth billions without the requisite registrations and documentation.

According to reliable sources, the Nigerian authorities requested Binance executives to provide data relating to transactions involving the Nigerian Naira on the Binance platform in the last seven years. They also demanded that some other data relating to Nigeria be deleted from the Binance platform.

However, the Binance executives insisted that they should be taken to their respective countries’ embassies before they could comply.

The Nigerian government also obtained a court warrant to detain the officials for at least twelve days in the first instance, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

On Friday, Onanuga claimed that Binance is not registered in Nigeria and has no presence in the country. He alleged that people used the platform to arbitrarily fix dollar-naira rates; a practice he said negatively impacted the value of the local currency.

He explained further that the Binance team were already cooperating with the Nigerian government by providing useful information, and had already suspended naira related transactions on the platform.

Nigeria nevertheless wants Binance to pay at least $10 billion in retribution, Mr Onanuga said.

Earlier in the week, Mr Onanuga had alleged that if not stopped, the cryptocurrency trading platform will destroy the Nigerian economy by arbitrarily fixing foreign exchange rate.

“If we don’t clamp down on Binance, Binance will destroy the economy of this country. They just fix the rate,” the presidential spokesman said on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday.

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