Binance’s woes in Nigeria continue to mount

Binance told a local media outlet that it hadn’t heard about a $10 billion fine


Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu | Chatham House/"Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu" (CC license)


Binance’s woes in Nigeria continue to mount. 

There was confusion on Friday as a government official, in an interview with BBC’s pidgin language service, said the government was looking to impose a fine of up to $10 billion on Binance.

However, a spokesperson told the People’s Gazette that the exchange was not in talks with the government about a fine of that sum.

Binance did not immediately return multiple requests for comment.

“We recently discussed ways to resolve issues with Nigeria, but we did not hear any demand for $10 billion,” a Binance spokesperson reportedly told the People’s Gazette.

Read more: Former Binance CEO’s sentencing delayed until April

The government official quoted by BBC said later Friday that his comments were misrepresented.

Bayo Onanuga, a spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu, told the People’s Gazette that Nigeria “may impose heavy fines on Binance for what happened.”

“I never said Binance had been informed about the fines or that it would definitely be $10 billion,” he reportedly added.  

Earlier this week, two Binance executives were detained in the country, according to multiple media reports.

Bloomberg reported that the two have not yet been charged, but could reportedly be charged with tax evasion, illegal operations and even currency manipulation. The report cited unnamed sources. 

Read more: Crypto tax evasion cases are on the rise: Bloomberg

Nigeria reportedly began cracking down on some crypto exchanges late last week. On Thursday, Feb. 22, the exchange confirmed to Blockworks that some users had trouble accessing Binance’s website.

“We remain committed to adhering to applicable local regulations and laws, with a dedicated focus on maintaining active engagement with all relevant stakeholders, regulators and policymakers,” a Binance spokesperson told Blockworks at the time.

All of this comes after Nigeria’s central bank governor Olayemi Cardoso named Binance in a press conference last week. Cardoso said that $26 billion has passed through Binance Nigeria, according to multiple media reports

He said the sum came from “sources and users who we cannot adequately identify.”   

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