House Summons Binance Boss over Alleged Terrorism Financing

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has summoned the Chief Executive of Binance Holding Limited, Richard Teng, over alleged terrorism financing and money laundering.

The Chairman of the Committee, Ginger Onwusibe, issued a seven-day ultimatum to the management of Binance Holdings Limited., to appear before the committee on or before March 4, 2024.

Binance, an online exchange where users trade cryptocurrencies, has been flagged by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to have been involved in money laundering, among other alleged infractions.

Onwusibe, however, warned that the committee will be forced to invoke the constitutional powers vested in the committee to take appropriate measures if Binance Holdings fails to heed the summons.

He decried Teng’s refusal to appear after a series of invitations to brief the committee relating to the total disregard for extant laws governing business and financial operations in the country.

The committee had summoned the Managing Director of Binance, in a letter dated December 12, 2023, and signed by its chairman, Onwusibe requesting a hearing on December 18, 2023.

Onwusibe, while restating the resolve of the committee to fight financial crimes, maintained that “the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has empowered us to protect Nigerians from financial crimes, especially by foreign companies.

“We also have to protect and defend the country’s finances, especially now that the country is nose-diving into recession. The allegations of terrorism financing, money laundering, and tax evasion, among others, leveled against Binance are damning enough.

“At this material time, we need all the tax dollars to block the leaks and channels to finance terror.”

He added, “It is also our duty to do everything in our power to protect Nigerian investors from predatory firms, and no distraction and manipulation can stop us.

“You cannot run a company with over 10 million Nigerians on your platform without paying tax and having a physical office where Nigerians can lodge their complaints when they experience any challenge with your service. The era of exploitation is over and all culprits must be held accountable,” he said.

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