Nigeria Investigating Binance Alleging Money Laundering and Terror Financing
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Nigerian authorities, in a Thursday February 29 update, informed the media they apprehended two Binance officials in a probe if the crypto exchange is encouraging money laundering, terrorism financing, and other kinds of illegal trade. Sources aware of the investigation noted that Nigerian officials want access to information about Binance’s clients in the country as part of the investigation. They requested to remain anonymous.

The developments show that an investigation into market manipulation and the possible effect of Binance’s offerings on the naira, the country’s currency, is expanding. The officials, a Brit and an American were detained on February 26 after arriving in the nation following the government’s invitation to address queries concerning its activities.

Serious Escalation in Nigeria Versus Binance Contest

They have not been openly recognized, and reports concerning them being charged have not been revealed. However, their situation indicates a severe possible escalation of a protracted bubbling clash between the nation’s biggest crypto exchange and the Nigerian government. Despite several requests for comment, Binance media officials failed to respond.

Nigerians can no longer access the Binance website, and some users have reported shifting their trading activity to optional platforms, for instance, Bybit and KuCoin. Aliy Hassan, a crypto trader, recently noted that crypto peer-to-peer (P2P) trading groups are coming up on Telegram. He also revealed that he averaged volumes worth $50,000 in weekly P2P trading of Tether’s USDT stablecoin on Binance before the latest ban.

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He cautioned that these trading platforms on messaging platforms such as Telegram were unsafe as exchanges, for instance, Binance, that provided mediation and escrow. Blockchain and crypto advocates such as Rume Ophi claim that the government’s approaches might push merchants to underground channels that cannot be sufficiently monitored. 

Rume is the current executive secretary of the Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria. He said the government’s strategy is empowering the crypto black market, which is risky. 

It was impossible to instantly determine whether the detained Binance executives were cooperating with the probe. Those conversant with the matter claimed that Binance workers requested to be released to their embassies in Nigeria. Under a government-accepted system, Binance can provide client information to officials, including blockchain data, transaction history, confidential identification data, and other user information categories.

Communication Commission Block Access

Earlier in February, the Nigerian Communications Commission, Nigeria’s telecom supervisory body, told internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict access to Kraken, Binance, Coinbase, and other crypto exchange websites. This happened after being accused of supporting currency speculation and manipulating the forex market from numerous departments in Nigeria’s government.

On February 27, Olayemi Carsodo, the country’s central bank governor, drew attention to funds shifting across crypto platforms. In a press conference, he noted they are concerned that some practices show illegal flows going via several entities and suspicious flows at best. Concerning Binance, in 2023 alone, $26B has passed via ‘Binance Nigeria’ from users and sources that cannot be effectively recognized.

In November, Binance pleaded guilty to contravening United States banking regulations. The firm also agreed to pay a fine of $4.3B for not stopping terror groups and other sanctioned entities from utilizing the platform for money laundering and management. Nigerian authorities are currently conducting a similar inquiry. 

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Michael Scott

By Michael Scott

Michael Scott is a skilled and seasoned news writer with a talent for crafting compelling stories. He is known for his attention to detail, clarity of expression, and ability to engage his readers with his writing.

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