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FG Allegedly Detains Binance Executives Amidst Crypto Crackdown

The Nigerian Communications Commission recently blocked the online platforms of Binance and other crypto firms



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The Federal Government of Nigeria has reportedly detained at least two senior executives of Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange company, following the recent ban on its website, News About Nigeria reports.

According to a report by the Financial Times, the executives flew into Nigeria last week and were arrested by officials from the office of the National Security Adviser, with their passports seized.

Binance is an online exchange platform that facilitates cryptocurrency trading, and Nigeria is recognised as one of the largest peer-to-peer crypto markets globally, with transactions reaching $56.7 billion between July 2022 and June 2023, as reported by Chainalysis.

The arrest comes as part of the government’s efforts to regulate speculation on the naira and crack down on cryptocurrency exchanges.

The Nigerian Communications Commission recently blocked the online platforms of Binance and other crypto firms to prevent what it perceives as continuous manipulation of the forex market and illicit fund movements.

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, expressed concerns about illicit flows through crypto platforms, citing that $26 billion passed through Binance Nigeria in the last year alone, from sources and users the authorities could not adequately identify.

Cardoso disclosed that Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, police, and national security adviser were coordinating an investigation into cryptocurrency exchanges, demanding a list of Binance’s Nigerian users since its inception.

In June 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission declared the operation of Binance Nigeria Limited illegal.

Presidential Spokesman Bayo Onanuga supported the government’s actions, stating that Binance could destroy the Nigerian economy by arbitrarily fixing foreign exchange rates.

Onanuga urged Nigerians to stop patronising the parallel market for FX rates, adding that the CBN’s official rate is the only legal platform.