Nigeria Demands Binance Hand Over Data on Top Users Amid Crackdown

A Nigerian court ruled that Binance's compliance head Tigran Gambaryan can stand trial over tax evasion charges brought against the crypto exchange.

Key Insights

  • Nigeria is demanding Binance provide data on its 100 biggest users in the country and six months of transactions amid a crackdown.
  • The demands escalate a pressure campaign alleging Binance fueled a crash in Nigeria’s currency.
  • Two senior Binance executives remain in detention as Nigeria negotiates with the exchange over resolving tax liabilities and user information handover.

ABUJA (MarketsXplora) – Nigeria is demanding cryptocurrency exchange Binance provide information on its 100 biggest Nigerian users as well as six months of transaction records, escalating a crackdown that has seen two senior executives detained, according to a government official.

Bayo Onanuga, an adviser to Nigeria’s president on information, told MarketsXplora on Tuesday the requests were part of negotiations between Binance and authorities in Africa’s biggest economy, who allege the exchange manipulated the naira currency.

In addition to the user data, Nigeria has asked Binance to resolve any outstanding tax liabilities, Onanuga said, adding the platform and others like it had “really messed up” the economy through alleged naira manipulation.

He suggested Nigeria may seek a $10 billion fine as retribution from Binance.

“Let’s allow law enforcement agencies space and time to undertake their work. Outcomes will be made public in due course,” the office of the national security adviser said in a statement.

The demands mark an escalation of the tussle between Binance and Nigerian authorities who have targeted the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange over claims it fuelled a crash in the naira.

Prosecutors in the West African country detained two senior Binance executives – Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla – in late February after the exchange halted Nigerian naira transactions amid the pressure campaign. The two remain in custody.

“(They) were cooperating with Nigerian authorities and providing a lot of information,” said Onanuga, suggesting their detention could be leveraged to compel Binance to share customer data.

The clampdown on Binance reflects wider concerns among Nigerian officials over the impact of unbacked currencies on the naira.

Nigeria has emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing crypto economies in recent years, aided by low financial inclusion levels.

However, authorities point to the naira’s plunge after its currency peg was abandoned in mid-2023 as evidence of the destabilizing effects crypto trading has had.

Nigerian consumer inflation rose for the 13th straight month to nearly 30% in January amid soaring prices fuelled partly by naira weakness.

Binance, used by millions globally to purchase and sell digital tokens, had no immediate comment on the Nigerian demands when contacted by MarketsXplora.

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