Nigeria Government Demands $10B From Crypto Exchange Binance: BBC

A spokesperson for the president later denied an amount had been set, People's Gazette reported.

AccessTimeIconMar 1, 2024 at 3:53 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 10:29 p.m. UTC
  • Binance set an unofficial exchange rate and contributed to economic disruption in Nigeria, a presidential spokesperson said.
  • The presidential spokesperson denied an amount had been set, People's Gazette reported later.
  • The news of a potential fine follows the detention earlier this week of two Binance executives who had arrived in the country.

Nigeria's government has demanded $10 billion from Binance after central bank Governor Olayemi Cardoso said the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume had enabled $26 billion of untraceable funds to leave the country as it faces a foreign exchange crisis and is looking for ways to restrict capital outflows, the BBC reported.

The fine was levied because of the exchange's alleged illegal operations in the country, Bayo Onanuga, a spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu, told the BBC's pidgin language service on Friday. The exchange is setting an exchange rate for the Nigerian naira when only the central bank has that authority, Onanuga said.

Onanuga subsequently told Nigerian news service Peoples Gazette his comments had been misrepresented.

“I said our government may impose heavy fines on Binance for what happened,” Onanuga told the Gazette. “I never said Binance had been informed about the fines or that it would definitely be $10 billion. I only said the amount may be imposed, which is because nothing has been finalized yet.”

Nigerian authorities say Binance, which isn't registered to operate in the country, caused widespread economic disruption and contributed to the naira's 70% weakening in recent months, the BBC reported.

On Wednesday, two Binance executives were reportedly detained and their passports confiscated when they flew to Nigeria.

The country has been investigating crypto exchanges, the Financial Times reported recently.

Neither Binance nor the Nigerian government had responded to requests for comment before publication.

Edited by Sandali Handagama.


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