‘Misquoted’ Nigerian official denies wanting $10B from Binance

Nigeria’s government has denied reports that it’s set to hit crypto exchange Binance with a $10 billion fine, claiming that a statement from one of its senior advisors was misquoted.

The Premium Times had claimed that Bayo Onanuga, Nigeria’s special advisor on information and strategy, had announced the fine in an interview with the BBC. However, Onanuga later told the Peoples Gazette that his words were misrepresented.

He told the Gazette, “I never said Binance had been informed about the fines or that it would definitely be $10 billion,” adding, “I only said the amount may be imposed, which is because nothing has been finalized yet.”

Binance told the Gazette, “We recently discussed ways to resolve issues with Nigeria, but we did not hear any demand for $10 billion.”

Onanuga is also reported to have said in the interview that the exchange profited substantially from ‘illegal transactions,’ resulting in huge losses for Nigeria. 

Last week Nigeria banned several crypto exchanges, such as Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken, to prevent the Nigerian naira from dropping in price. Then this week, two senior Binance executives were reportedly detained after flying to the country.

The Premium Times also reported today that the Nigerian government confirmed authorities are investigating Binance.

Read more: FTX bankruptcy firm Sullivan & Cromwell tipped for Binance monitor role

The crypto crackdown reportedly reflects a U-turn in the government’s approach, which had previously viewed crypto as a force for good that would help attract investment and bolster its struggling economy.

Binance was sued last month by the National Agency for Prospective Projects of Uzbekistan after the crypto exchange failed to pay a 102 million som ($8,200) fine for operating without a license.

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