Nigerian Lawmakers Summons Binance CEO Amid Financial Probe

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The Lower House of Nigeria’s legislative body, the House of Representatives has summoned Binance CEO Richard Teng to appear before its Committee on Financial Crimes to respond to suspicions of terrorism financing and money laundering allegedly involving the cryptocurrency exchange.

The summons as reported by a local newspaper is coming amid mounting concerns over potential financial crimes by Binance. The committee’s Chair, Ginger Onwusibe, issued an ultimatum to Binance management on March 1, setting a deadline for Teng to appear before the committee on or before March 4, 2024.

Financial Committee Threatens Sanctions

The ultimatum issued by Onwusibe comes with the threat of sanction that should Binance Holdings disregard the summons, the committee would be compelled to utilize its constitutional authority to implement necessary actions.

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Despite being invited previously, CEO Richard Teng has allegedly not attended committee hearings, leading Onwusibe to express disappointment regarding the apparent disregard for Nigerian laws governing business and financial operations.

Hence, the committee in this case, is threatening sanction while leaning on its constitutional mandate to address financial crimes and safeguard Nigerian citizens, especially concerning foreign companies.

Apex Bank Concerned Over Exchange Activities

This summons by the legislative body follows statements by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on February 27, expressing concerns about “suspicious flows” of funds through Binance in 2023.

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Governor Olayemi Cardoso, particularly emphasizing Binance, revealed that an alarming $26 billion had flowed through Nigeria in the past year alone, originating from sources and users lacking sufficient identification.

Cardoso raised concerns regarding the presence of illicit activities within crypto exchanges in Nigeria. Cardoso highlighted the apprehension, stating, “We are troubled by certain practices suggesting the occurrence of illicit transactions within several of these entities, with suspicious transactions being a significant concern.”

Binance Running Battle

Similarly, the National Security Adviser’s office has detained two senior Binance officials in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, as part of a broader government effort to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges. Binance recently removed the Nigerian naira from its peer-to-peer (P2P) service amid increased scrutiny from authorities.

P2P trading saw a significant rise in Nigeria in 2021 after the government prohibited the crypto industry. However, in December 2023, the CBN reversed the ban on banks participating in crypto transactions and introduced regulations for overseeing virtual asset service providers.

The legislative summons of Binance CEO Richard Teng is coming just days after the Nigerian authorities denied claims of a $10 billion fine imposed on the cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

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