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Nigeria demands top 100 users' data from Binance

Following accusations by Nigeria's central bank that Binance processed $26 billion in mostly unidentifiable transactions, local authorities are now seeking data on the platform's top 100 users in the country.

Nigeria demands top 100 users' data from Binance
Binance x Nigerian Naira.

Nigerian authorities are demanding extensive user data from the global cryptocurrency exchange Binance. This includes details of the top 100 users in the country and a complete record of their transactions over the past six months, Financial Times reported on Tuesday evening.

Last month, the Central Bank of Nigeria's governor Olayemi Cardoso alleged that Binance Nigeria processed $26 billion in transactions with sources that remain unidentifiable. "We are concerned that certain practices go on that indicate illicit flows, going through a number of these entities [including Binance] and suspicious flows," Cardoso said.

The authorities, which have since detained two Binance executives, also request that the crypto exchange clear any outstanding tax liabilities. Binance has maintained its stance of seeking a collaborative resolution to the ongoing crypto probe in the country. The Nigeria's House of Representatives committee on financial crimes summoned Richard Teng, CEO of Binance, to appear before them, but he was absent.

"Let’s allow law enforcement agencies space and time to undertake their work. Outcomes will be made public in due course," the office of the country's national security adviser told Financial Times.

On March 1, Bayo Onanuga, a special adviser to the Nigerian president on information and strategy, told the BBC that "[The Nigerian] Government is asking for small money from them [referring to Binance]. We are asking them to pay us close to $10 billion in retribution because it really messed up our economy in a short time." Onanuga later backtracked on the statement after it went viral. Binance also stated they were unaware of any such penalty.

"We aim to chart a good relationship with the government and the people of Nigeria. We want to see our services restored in Nigeria very soon, but we have no intention of paying fines for personnel or services," according to Binance.

A timeline of Binance woes in Nigeria

This isn't the first regulatory skirmish between Binance and Nigeria. In June 2023, Nigeria's Securities Exchange Commission labelled Binance an illegal entity. While Binance denied any connection to the implicated "Binance Nigeria Limited," the SEC clarified its stance by referencing Binance's official website in a subsequent circular.

  • Feb 20, 2024 — Binance limited peer-to-peer transactions trading the Tether/Nigerian Naira pair
  • Feb 21, 2024 — Following orders from the CBN, the Nigerian Communications Commission ordered internet service providers to block access to cryptocurrency exchange websites like Binance, Kraken, and Coinbase.
  • Feb 26, 2024 — Nigerian authorities detained two Binance executives who have now been identified as Tigran Gambaryan, head of the criminal investigations team, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, the company's regional manager for Africa.
  • Feb 27, 2024 — The CBN governor alleged that Binance Nigeria processed $26 billion in 2023 for unidentifiable sources.
  • March 1, 2024 — Onanuga told BBC that Binance was fined $10 billion in retribution. He later backtracked on the statement.
  • March 2, 2024 — The House of Representatives committee on financial crimes summoned Binance CEO Richard Teng, over alleged terrorism financing and money laundering. Teng was absent on the set date.
  • March 5, 2024 — Binance announced the pause on Nigerian Naira deposits and withdrawals which took effect on March 8.
  • March 12, 2024 — News broke that the Nigerian authorities are demanding the top 100 users on Binance transacting from the country.

This is a developing story.

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