Binance’s bribery allegation not against us, says Reps’ panel

The House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes, has offered clarifications that the demand for bribe allegation by Binance Holding Limited, an online crypto currency exchange platform was not against the panel, as erroneously being portrayed in media reports. 

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Ginger Onwusibe, said the social media post by the head of Binance, Richard Teng, making reference to the bribe demand said some unknown persons approached the company’s employees but not members.

Addressing journalists on the matter, Tuesday, Onwusibe recalled that the allegation came up after a pre-hearing meeting of the committee with Binance representatives over a mandate of the House to investigate alleged multiple financial and economic crimes and irregularities perpetrated by Binance against the Nigerian economy, including money laundering, breach of investment security laws and violation of Nigerian tax laws. 

He said a careful perusal of the said allegation as posted by Mr Teng of Binance showed that a pre-hearing meeting was held ‘in private’ to clarify issues Binance will be confronted with at a scheduled Public Hearing.

The face-to-face private “meeting ended’ without any demand or solicitation of bribes by the four representatives of the committee. 

“The allegation is that after the end of the meeting and when the Binance team had left the meeting room, they were approached by ‘unknown persons ‘ who allegedly demanded for bribes. Thereafter, another unknown person allegedly contacted a local counsel of Binance and again solicited for bribes in crypto currency.

“These bogus, obnoxious, false and fabricated allegations are pure blackmail, clearly designed to muddy the waters and shift attention away from the heinous allegations of financial and economic crimes against the Nigerian state leveled against Binance and which are intended to derail the investigations by the committee, delegitimise its constitutional, statutory and legitimate enquiry into the activities of Binance in Nigeria. It is most unfortunate that some Nigerians have allowed themselves to be hoodwinked by Binance and sucked into the hullabaloo prevalent in the Nigerian news circle in the past few days,” he stated.

The lawmaker said it was on record that Binance, even at the scheduled public hearing for January 10, 2024 failed to appear, and subsequently and repeatedly snubbed the committee’s rescheduled dates for the event before the bribery allegation dramatically surfaced.