Richard Teng, CEO of Binance, condemns the Nigerian government’s actions by inviting company executives to meetings as a strategy and then detaining them.

Richard Teng, CEO of Binance, asked Nigerian authorities to immediately release his executive, Tigran Gambaryan, who is the head of compliance with respect to financial crimes at Binance, the most prominent company in the world for cryptocurrency trading.

The executive, who traveled to Nigeria in response to a request from that government to collaborate in an investigation into alleged crimes committed by Binance, was arrested along with another senior executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla.

Anjarwalla managed to escape from detention, a fact that made numerous headlines in various media outlets worldwide.

The fact is that Teng has come out in defense of his employees, to also take advantage of reporting irregularities in the case. In this sense, the executives’ defense maintains that they have been victims of human rights violations at the hands of the Nigerian authorities. Furthermore, they report an attempt to extort about $150 million in cryptocurrencies.

Information about the extortion was recently made public in The New York Times, a fact that Teng uses as a reference in his statement.

Authorities intensified their custody of Gambaryan after Anjarwalla’s escape, and according to recent reports, the detained executive is in a place normally reserved for criminals such as Boko Haram terrorists.

Binance CEO Feels Fear for the Safety of His Employees

Teng warns against this precedent against the business world, lamenting that its executives have been detained under deception, having traveled to Nigeria in good faith to collaborate with the investigations:

“I also feel that it’s time to speak out about this issue on behalf of the global business community. To invite company’s mid-level employees for collaborative policy meetings, only to detain them, you have set a dangerous new precedent for all companies worldwide.”

Teng stressed that his team feels great concern for the safety of its executives. Having been pressured to pay extortion, they become potential victims of retaliation. In this regard, Teng explains that the company did not pay any requested money, since it is not a legal agreement.

The Nigerian authorities, for their part, are in the process of creating a mandate that prohibits P2P trading with the local currency, the naira. They argue that the platforms alter the exchange rate and cause the loss of value of said currency. With these measures, Nigeria is likely to become a country where it is dangerous to do technology business.

The CEO of Binance assures that Nigeria’s requests were taken into account at the time, although this was not enough to avoid the arrest of its executives.

Binance Decides to Shut Down Services in Nigeria

Given the most recent events, Binance has made the decision to close certain services in Nigeria, all in the hope of resolving the problematic situation, and securing the release of Gambaryan.

Despite having received security guarantees, Binance has expressed its concern and rejection of the two executives’ detention against their will, including the confiscation of their passports and mobile phones.

The truth is that Gambaryan remains detained, and the Nigerian government conditions his release on compliance with certain demands on Binance.

By Audy Castaneda


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