• News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: March 05, 2024

Reps call for arrest of Binance executives

Reps call for arrest of Binance executives


The Federal House of Representatives, on Monday, called for the arrest of the top executives of Binance Holdings Limited, which is facing fraud allegations.

Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, was accused of exploiting the Nigerian currency, Naira, leading to its free fall in value.

The company is, in addition, facing allegations of terrorism financing, money laundering, and tax invasion, among others.

On Monday, the executives of the foreign firm were expected to appear before the House Committee on Financial Crimes but they instead sent their lawyers to represent them.

However, displeased with the development, the Chairman of the House Committee, Obinna Ginger, declared that a warrant would be issued for their arrest.

Responding, Binance counsel, Senator Ihenyen explained that the executive could not appear because they were in custody.

Ihenyen pleaded with the committee to accord the company ample time to appear before it, noting that two top shots of Binance who arrived in the country last week were arrested by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

“Following the arrest of two executives, other persons could not come into Nigeria because they were afraid of arrest too. Binance has responded appropriately to the demands of the committee and as our client, we are pleading that this honourable committee consider taking the report.”

The committee’s chairman, Ginger, insisted that the Chief Executive of Binance Holding Limited, Richard Teng, must appear.

The committee had summoned Teng in a letter dated  December 12, 2023.

While restating the committee's resolve to rid the country of financial crimes, Ginger said, “The committee will be forced to recommend to the House to arrest Binance executives since they have failed to appear before the committee.

“As long as the committee is concerned, Binance is not at this meeting because we have said severally that we do not want representation by lawyers but the chief executives should appear before us.

“Binance is not here. We have taken a position on it in our last sitting that we are not going to entertain legal representation from Binance and that position stands.

“Based on the fact that Binance is not here, we need to make a recommendation to the House of Representatives for the House to invoke its powers of subpoena to issue a warrant for the leadership of Binance to be arrested and be brought to this committee to answer questions of the grave allegations levelled against them in the petitions brought to us by the Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiatives and Niger Delta Youth Council.

“This committee has resolved to recommend to the House to invoke its constitutional powers by issuing a subpoena and a warrant for Binance executives to be arrested and brought to this committee to answer these questions relating to the financing of terrorism, money laundering and other financial crimes as stated in the petition, including evasion of tax.”

A group, Niger Delta Youth Council Worldwide and the Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiatives petitioned the National Assembly, urging the two chambers to invite Binance for questioning.

In a separate interview, the spokesman for the Empowerment for Unemployed Youths initiative, Danesi Momoh, accused Binance of shady practices in Nigeria, noting that despite its more than five years of operations in the country, the company has no desk in any of the 36 states of the federation.

He said, “We have been speaking for the unemployed youths in Nigeria for a long time. When Binance came to Nigeria, many unemployed youths embraced them. But some of them have been crying foul that what they expected is not what they are seeing today, trading in Binance.

“Some of them are now saying that they have been defrauded. Some of these unemployed Nigerians ran to us to express their grievances.

“Our findings showed that Binance has not been living up to expectations. What they are doing is not far from fraud. We thought of going to court but found out that Binance does not even have a desk in any of the 36 states of the federation. They don’t have an office in Nigeria.

“So, we had an executive meeting with other CSOs and we resolved to write to the National Assembly. The Senate did not respond but the House of Representatives did. We have been on this since December 2023.”

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