The Federal Government of Nigeria has dismissed claims made by Binance, that it was asked to pay a $150 million bribe by unidentified government officials. On Wednesday 8th May 2024, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, in a statement issued by his media aide, Mr. Rabiu Ibrahim disclosed that the government is aware of Binance's attempt to improve its tarnished reputation as a company that does not follow the rules and regulations governing business practices in sovereign nations.

In what appears to have been a well-planned public relations campaign, the government said that Binance CEO Richard Teng falsely accused unnamed Nigerian government officials of bribery in a blog post that numerous international media outlets have since picked up. Teng claimed the officials demanded $150 million in cryptocurrency payments in order to end the company's criminal investigation.

According to the statement, “The Organisation made false allegations of bribery against unidentified Nigerian Government officials, who it claimed, demanded 150 million dollars in cryptocurrency payments to resolve the ongoing criminal investigation against the company.

“This claim by Binance CEO lacks any iota of substance. It is nothing but a diversionary tactic and an attempted act of blackmail by a company desperate to obfuscate the grievous criminal charges it is facing in Nigeria.

“The facts of this matter remain that Binance is being investigated in Nigeria for allowing its platform to be used for money laundering, terrorism financing, and foreign exchange manipulation through illegal trading.

“While this lawful investigation was going on, an executive of Binance, who was in court-sanctioned protective custody, escaped from Nigeria, and he is now a fugitive from the law. Working with the security agencies in Nigeria, Interpol is currently executing an international arrest warrant on the said fugitive.

“The phantom bribe claim is part of an orchestrated international campaign by this company that is facing criminal prosecution in many countries including the United States, to undermine the Nigerian Government.”

The Minister recalled that “Just a week ago, the founder and former CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, was sentenced to prison in the United States, after pleading guilty to charges very similar to what Binance is being investigated for in Nigeria. In addition, Zhao agreed to pay a fine of $50 million, while Binance is liable for $4.3 billion in fines and forfeitures to the US Government.

“We would like to remind Binance that it will not clear its name in Nigeria by resorting to fictional claims and mudslinging media campaigns. The only way to resolve its issues will be by submitting itself to unobstructed investigation and judicial due process.

“The government of Nigeria will continue to act within its laws and international norms and will not succumb to any form of blackmail from any entity, local or foreign.”