House Of Representatives Accuses Binance of Blackmail To Evade Justice

Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has denied the $140 million bribery allegation made by the Chief Executive Officer of Binance, Mr. Richard Teng, calling it an attempt to blackmail the House and evade justice.

The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Ginger Onwusibe, addressed a press conference on the allegations in Abuja.

He recalled that on January 8, Binance employees met face-to-face with three members of the committee at the House of Representatives building for a scheduled pre-hearing engagement in private.

Readiness

The lawmaker stated that the meeting was chaired by Hon. Peter Akpanke, Hon. Philip Agbese, and Hon. Peter Aniekwe, along with a clerk. He noted that during the conversation, the Committee emphasised the importance of the issues at hand and their readiness to summon Binance.

Onwusibe explained that the allegations against Binance, made by several Civil Society Organizations, include violations of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, the Investments and Securities Act, 2007, the Rules on Issuance, Offering Platforms and Custody of Digital Assets (May 2022), and relevant Nigerian tax laws, resulting in tax evasion and defrauding Nigeria of billions of dollars in tax revenue.

Mr. Onwusibe said that the Committee, in pursuit of its constitutional and legitimate functions, promptly began investigating the petitions by inviting Binance to appear before it and clarify the allegations.

House House 

He noted that an invitation letter dated December 8, 2023, was formally sent via email to Teng, inviting the organisation to appear before the Committee. Following formal communications, January 10, 2024, was agreed upon as a convenient date for a Public Hearing.

He noted that on January 8, 2024, the Committee, represented by three of its members and its Clerk, led by Akpanke, met with a six-member team representing Binance. The petition was made available to the Binance team to assist them in preparing for the Public Hearing on January 10, 2024.

Onwusibe emphasised that the meeting was open, transparent, and ended on a cordial note. “No solicitation or demands of any type were made by representatives of the Committee to Binance at the meeting,” Onwusibe said.

He stressed that on January 10, 2024, Binance failed to appear for the public hearing, having earlier requested an extension of time to prepare adequately.

Onwusibe maintained that the allegation by Binance was bogus, obnoxious, false, fabricated, and designed to distract from the serious allegations of financial and economic crimes against Nigeria.

We refuse to be diminished or deflated by the shenanigans of Binance and other enemies of Nigeria. The Committee will continue with its functions and assignments undeterred.

 

We recognise that the blackmail by Binance is merely an attempt to distract and draw attention away from the serious allegations of criminality against it, now compounded by its role in the security breach of the sovereign Nigerian State,” Onwusibe stated.

Members of the committee unanimously agreed that no amount of blackmail will stop them from doing their work.

 

Lateefah Ibrahim

 

 

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