Nigeria Hunts Binance User Data as Arrested Execs Are Named

The government has reportedly demanded the exchange to divulge information regarding its top users.

The Nigerian government and Binance are still locked in a regulatory dispute.

The government is reportedly seeking local Binance user data.

Two of the exchange’s executives are currently detained by local Nigerian authorities.

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has been at the center of regulatory crosshairs in Nigeria over the past weeks, marked by intense scrutiny of the government and accusations of local currency manipulation. Following weeks of an intense regulatory tussle, Binance threw in the towel, suspending all Naira-related services from its platforms.

While the exchange’s exit was expected to end the troubles, the government has made new demands.

Binance User Info at Risk?
According to an FT report on Tuesday, the government is demanding the details of the top 100 Binance users in the country and the exchange’s transaction history for the past six months.

The reports come amid the ongoing negotiation between the exchange and the government, involving claims that the platform facilitated illicit transactions of several local users.

“We are concerned that certain practices go on that indicate illicit flows going through a number of these entities and suspicious flows. In the case of Binance, in the last year alone, $26 billion has passed through Binance Nigeria from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify,” stated the Nigerian CBN Governor.

Additionally, the exchange may be facing severe financial liabilities as the office of the Nigerian National Security Adviser demands the settlement of its outstanding tax liabilities to the government, spanning the duration of its operations in the country. This follows the speculation of an aide to the government that Binance is staring down at a whopping $10 billion fine before backpedaling his claims shortly after.

The reports of the request for local Binance user data coincide with the latest development in the detention of two Binance executives, which has now lasted over two weeks.

Binance Executives Held ‘Hostage’ in Nigeria
On Wednesday, March 13, local Nigerian media revealed the identity of the two detained Binance executives arrested in the country on February 28, 2024.

Namely, Tigran Gambaryan, the exchange’s head of financial crime compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, the regional manager for Africa, both executives were reportedly arrested following their arrival to negotiate with the Nigerian Central Bank executives.

The two are held in a private, guarded “guesthouse” in Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria. They have restricted movement and internet access and are only allowed to make contact under supervision. Additional reports of one of the executives falling ill in custody have surfaced, contradicting the claims that both Gambaryan and Anjarwalla are being “treated well.”

The Nigerian government has revealed plans to extend the executives’ current detention beyond the initial fourteen-day warrant period, which expired on Tuesday, March 12, 2024.

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