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Nigerian govt detained Binance executives, says platform aide crime, weakens Naira

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The Nigerian government has detained two executives of the Binance crypto exchange platform amid efforts to stabilise the nation’s foreign exchange market and salvage the value of the local currency.

Sources familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES that the two executives were detained in Abuja, a day after they flew into the country as part of moves to negotiate with the Nigerian authorities amid a crackdown on the crypto platform.

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Last week, our source reported how the Nigerian government blocked the online platforms of Binance and other crypto firms to halt what it described as continuous manipulation of the forex market and illicit movement of funds.

Sources within the major telecommunication companies in the country told PREMIUM TIMES last week that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) communicated the directive to telcos, and they immediately acted on the advisory.

Apart from Binance, other platforms such as Forextime, OctaFX, Crypto, FXTM, Coinbase, Kraken, among others, were equally blocked.

Presidency and regulatory sources said the government decided to move against Binance and other crypto firms following reports that currency speculators and money launderers were using them to execute criminal activities.

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Authorities believe the ‘criminal activities’ going on the platforms are contributing significantly to the weakening of the naira.

Binance, a digital assets platform, serves as a window for peer-to-peer transactions, allowing users to advertise interest to sell or buy currencies of their choice.

In September 2023, Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclaimed Binance Nigeria Limited, saying the platform was “neither registered nor regulated by the Commission and its operations in Nigeria are therefore illegal”.

Despite the warning by the regulatory agency, the firm continued its operation, attracting huge patronage especially among urban youths and suspected speculators and money launderers.

Source. Premium times

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