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FG slams Binance $10bn fine

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The Nigerian government is demanding at least $10 billion in compensation from Binance amid a crackdown on the crypto exchange platform in a desperate attempt to save the value of the country’s currency.

Bayo Onanuga, President Bola Tinubu’s special assistant on information and strategy, confirmed this in an interview with the BBC on Friday morning.

The cryptocurrency exchange company  benefited significantly from its “illegal transactions” in Nigeria, while the country incurred massive losses, according to Mr. Onanuga in an interview on the BBC.

Earlier on Friday, it was reported that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) acknowledged that Nigerian officials are investigating the crypto trading site.

In its first formal confirmation of the clampdown measures on Binance and other crypto platforms, a top official of the ONSA told the press that the security adviser’s office is coordinating an interagency inquiry into Binance’s operations.

“I am confirming that the office of the national security adviser, as part of ongoing operations in the foreign exchange market with the CBN and other law enforcement and security agencies, is coordinating an interagency investigation into the operations of Binance,” Zakari Mijinyawa, head of strategic communication at the Office of the National Security Adviser, stated.

However, as of press time Thursday night, Mr. Mijinyawa had not provided any additional information about the investigations.

On Wednesday, Chronicle NG reported that the federal government had detained two executives from the cryptocurrency trading platform as part of desperate measures to calm the country’s foreign exchange market.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the two executives were detained in Abuja, the federal capital territory, days after flying into the nation to negotiate with Nigerian officials in the midst of a crackdown on the cryptocurrency platform.

They had arrived in Nigeria earlier this week to negotiate with the authorities during the raid. The negotiations, however, ended in deadlock after Binance officials refused to meet certain of the Nigerian government’s demands.

They were also accused of running a billion-dollar corporation without proper registration and documents.

According to sources on Wednesday, Nigerian authorities asked Binance executives to produce data on transactions involving the Nigerian Naira on the Binance platform during the previous seven years. They also demanded that some other Nigeria-related data be removed from the Binance site.

However, Binance executives insisted on being transported to their respective nations’ embassies before complying.

While the complete identities of the two Binance executives remain unknown, it was gathered that one is an American and the other is British-Pakistani.

According to a source, the Nigerian government acquired a court warrant to hold the officers for at least twelve days in the first instance.

On Friday, Mr. Onanuga stated that the cryptocurrency exchange company is not registered in Nigeria and has no presence there. He claimed that users exploited the platform to arbitrarily fix dollar-naira rates, which harmed the value of the local currency.

He went on to say that the Binance team was already working with the Nigerian authorities to provide valuable information and that naira-related transactions on the site had already been banned.

The Federal Government nevertheless wants the cryptocurrency exchange company  to pay at least $10 billion in retribution, Mr. Onanuga said.

Earlier this week, Mr. Onanuga claimed that, if not prevented, the cryptocurrency trading platform would damage the Nigerian economy by arbitrarily fixing foreign exchange rates.

“If we don’t clamp down on Binance, Binance will destroy the economy of this country. They just fix the rate,” the presidential spokesman said on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Wednesday.

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