Binance has alleged that Nigeria government led by President Bola Tinubu has demanded a secret payment of N207 billion to settle its crypto case.

According to Bloomberg, Binance Chief Executive Officer, Richard Teng made the claim in a blog yesterday, detailing how the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange tried to engage with Nigerian authorities, including having a meeting which was held in Abuja on January 8, 2024.

“As our employees were leaving the venue, they were approached by unknown persons who suggested to them to make a payment in settlement of the allegations. After that incident, Binance’s lawyer was presented with a demand for a significant payment in cryptocurrency to be paid in secret within 48 hours to make these issues go away,” Teng wrote.

It was reported that the amount in question was $150 million (N207,304,500,000), though the identities of those who allegedly demanded the bribe were not revealed.

The Nigerian government which blames crypto speculators for some of the naira’s depreciation against the US dollar, denied this allegation.

The spokesperson to the National Security Adviser, Zakari Mijinyawa, said, “Investigators are confident that the sequence of events is not as Binance has indicated, nor the material facts. It will of course be for the courts to decide, and for due process to be followed and justice delivered.”

The incident marks the latest legal problems for Binance, whose founder Changpeng Zhao was ordered on May 1 to spend four months in prison in the US for failures that allowed cybercriminals and terrorist groups to freely trade on its platform. Binance in November agreed to pay $4.3 billion to resolve the US allegations.

In Nigeria, the confrontation led to the arrest of two of its staff after they returned in late February for further talks. One of them fled, but Tigran Gambaryan has been jailed at the Kuje correctional centre in Abuja and will go on trial this month to face charges of tax evasion, currency speculation and money laundering.

Teng said Gambaryan and his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla, who later escaped from custody, were given repeated assurances they would be granted safe passage.

“To invite a company’s mid-level employees for collaborative policy meetings, only to detain them, has set a dangerous new precedent for all companies worldwide,” he said.