Binance CEO Richard Teng Summoned in Nigeria Over Money Laundering Suspicions: Report

Binance’s new CEO, Richard Teng, joined the company in November 2023 after its founder and former CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty in the US for violating money laundering laws. As the waters were seeming to settle around Binance’s internal turmoil, it’s new CEO also may have found himself in a similar situation. Nigeria’s House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has reportedly summoned Teng on suspicions of the exchange’s potential involvement in money laundering and terror financing.

With the crypto culture expanding rapidly around South Africa, governments are tightening their vigilance around crypto-related activities. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in this case, has alerted the Nigerian authorities about Binance, alleging that the platform may have played a role in suspicious fund transfers.

Ginger Onwusibe, the chairperson of the financial crimes committee, has asked Binance officials including Teng to present themselves before the Nigerian authorities, a report by local Nigerian publication, Punch said over the weekend. As per the report, Binance was given a seven-day ultimatum to meet with the Nigerian authorities by Monday, March 4. No details of Teng’s meeting with the Nigerian authorities have, however, been reported so far.

Onwusibe, in the summon to Binance, has also reportedly warned the exchange that it could take appropriate measures to tackle with the suspicions if representatives of the firm fail to schedule a meeting. The CBN has red-flagged Binance’s crypto exchange platform for being misused for money laundering and other unlawful activities.

“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. The allegations of terrorism financing, money laundering and tax evasion amongst others levelled against Binance are damning enough,” Punch quoted Onwusibe as saying.

Nigeria is taking steps to prevent financial crimes in the nation especially now that its economy is undergoing a recession-like climate. The country is getting stricter in terms of dealing with foreign companies. Calling Binance out, Onwusibe has disclosed that the company has neither registered its business in Nigeria nor has it established an office to address user grievances.

“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,” Onwusibe has been quoted as saying.

This is not the first time, that Binance has found itself under legal scanner. In November 30, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Philippines had decided to block access to the world’s largest crypto exchange. At the time, Philippines had claimed that Binance had not registered its operations with the authorities.

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