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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Nigerian Government Detains Binance Executives Amid Crypto Crackdown

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The Nigerian government has detained two executives of the Binance crypto exchange platform as part of efforts to stabilize the nation’s foreign exchange market and combat illicit financial activities. The executives were reportedly detained in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, following the government’s crackdown on the crypto platform.

Last week, the government blocked the online platforms of Binance and other crypto firms to curb alleged manipulation of the forex market and illicit movement of funds. The move came amid concerns that currency speculators and money launderers were exploiting these platforms, contributing to the weakening of the local currency.

Nigerian Government Detains Binance Executives Amid Crypto Crackdown

Despite warnings from regulatory agencies, including Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Binance continued its operations in the country. The company attracted significant patronage, particularly among urban youths and suspected speculators and money launderers.

The detention of the Binance executives came after their arrival in Nigeria to negotiate with the government amid the crackdown. However, meetings with top cybersecurity officials and investigators reportedly reached an impasse as Binance officials declined to meet some of the government’s demands.

BinanceAlso, read: Rigobert Song Steps Down as Cameroon National Team Coach After Africa Cup of Nations Exit

The Nigerian authorities requested Binance executives to provide transaction data involving the Nigerian Naira on the platform for the last seven years.

They also demanded the deletion of certain data relating to Nigeria from the platform. However, the executives insisted on being taken to their respective countries’ embassies before complying.

The government obtained a court warrant to detain the officials for at least twelve days, with the investigation now under the jurisdiction of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The executives are currently detained at a guest house near the Office of the National Security Adviser.

Nigerian Government Detains Binance Executives Amid Crypto CrackdownMeanwhile, Binance disabled its peer-to-peer function for Nigerian users on its platform, raising uncertainty about the future of crypto trading for Nigerians. The Central Bank of Nigeria claimed that $26 billion flowed through Binance Nigeria over the past year from unidentified sources, highlighting the need for collaboration among government agencies to address illicit financial activities.

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