Binance executives were arrested for allegedly destabilizing Nigeria’s currency

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Illustration: Dado Ruvic (Reuters)

Nigerian authorities have arrested 2 top officials from Binance, who were in the country to address allegations that the crypto exchange was destabilizing the national currency, the naira. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Tigran Gambaryan, head of financial-crime compliance at Binance who previously worked at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan national and Binance’s regional manager for Africa, have been held against their will for the past two weeks in the country.

As per reports, Nigerian government officials invited Binance executives to discuss an ongoing dispute about the world’s largest crypto exchange allegedly driving down the value of their national currency. Gambaryan and Anjarwalla arrived in Nigeria on February 25th; after their meeting with government officials, both were taken to their hotels. Later, they were instructed to pack their belongings and move to a guesthouse run by Nigeria’s National Security Agency, as stated by their families, per reports.

Accusation of illegal operations

The Nigerian government has accused Binance of exacerbating the country’s foreign exchange challenges through rate manipulation for profit. The authorities have also accused the crypto exchange of illegal operations and have restricted access to the company’s website.

There are also reports that Nigeria sought a $10 billion penalty from Binance for processing around $26 billion in untraceable funds in the country.

Nigeria is going through an economic crisis

Nigeria has the second-highest adoption of cryptocurrency after India. But the largest economy in Africa has been experiencing its worst economic crisis in recent years due to inflation and the devaluation of the naira.

The reason why and how Nigeria’s economic crisis is linked with Binance is yet to be found out. Binance is hoping to resolve the matter soon, according to CoinDesk.

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