Bribery allegation by Binance against govt officials diversionary – FG

The federal government has described bribery allegations by Binance against some government officials as diversionary.

Binance Chief Executive Officer Richard Teng had in a blog post published by many international media organisations made allegations of bribery against unidentified Nigerian government officials who he claimed demanded $150m in cryptocurrency payments to resolve the ongoing criminal investigation against the company.

But the minister of information and national orientation Alhaji Mohammed Idris, in a statement Monday issued by his media aide Rabiu Ibrahim said the allegation is a well well-coordinated public relations effort to “launder its impaired image as an organisation that does not play by the rules and laws guiding business conduct in sovereign nations.”

Idris said the claim by Binance CEO lacks any iota of substance.
“It is nothing but a diversionary tactic and an attempted act of blackmail by a company desperate to obfuscate the grievous criminal charges it is facing in Nigeria, ” he said.
The minister said federal government of Nigeria will continue to act within its laws and international norms and will not succumb to any form of blackmail from any local or foreign entities.
He said: “The facts of this matter remain that Binance is being investigated in Nigeria for allowing its platform to be used for money laundering, terrorism financing, and foreign exchange manipulation through illegal trading.

“While this lawful investigation was going on, an executive of Binance, who was in court-sanctioned protective custody, escaped from Nigeria, and he is now a fugitive from the law. Working with the security agencies in Nigeria, Interpol is currently executing an international arrest warrant on the said fugitive.

“The phantom bribe claim is part of an orchestrated international campaign by this company that is facing criminal prosecution in many countries including the United States, to undermine the Nigerian government.

“Just a week ago, the founder and former CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, was sentenced to prison in the United States, after pleading guilty to charges very similar to what Binance is being investigated for in Nigeria. In addition, Zhao agreed to pay a fine of $50 million, while Binance is liable for $4.3 billion in fines and forfeitures to the US Government.

“We would like to remind Binance that it will not clear its name in Nigeria by resorting to fictional claims and mudslinging media campaigns. The only way to resolve its issues will be by submitting itself to unobstructed investigation and judicial due process. “