Binance has taken a severe hit since crypto markets collapsed and regulators began probing the legality of its business
Binance has taken a severe hit since crypto markets collapsed and regulators began probing the legality of its business. IBTimes US


  • CBN's Cardoso said the bank was concerned of practices that 'indicate illicit flows'
  • He said the central bank was committed to ensuring that Nigerian financial markets aren't manipulated
  • The passports of two senior Binance executives were reportedly seized upon their detainment

Binance Nigeria has been accused of funneling around $26 billion in undetectable funds, and two of its senior executives have reportedly been detained in the country.

During a Wednesday media briefing, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Olayemi Cardoso said the bank was concerned that "certain practices go on, that indicate illicit flows going through" several entities, "and suspicious flows at best."

"In the case of Binance, in the last one year alone, $26 billion has passed through Binance Nigeria from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify," he said, but did not provide further details, noting the CBN will share more information when available.

"We are determined to do everything it takes to ensure that we take charge of our market, or to put it differently, do not allow others to manipulate our markets in a way that ends up distortionary," he added.

Several hours after the briefing, Financial Times reported that two senior executives of Binance were detained in Nigeria after they flew to the country following the ban of several crypto trading sites. They were detained by the office of Nigeria's national security adviser, as per the report. Their passports were also seized.

Binance did not immediately respond to International Business Times' request for comment.

Nigeria kicked off an expansive crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms last week as such websites emerged as a recent favorite among the Nigerian public to trade the Nigerian Naira. Nigeria's currency was devalued last month.

The Nigerian government blocked Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, and several other crypto trading platforms last week as part of its efforts to curb the Nigerian Naira's downturn, multiple outlets reported. A presidential spokesman confirmed the move to Bloomberg.

Bayo Onanuga, a special adviser to Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, accused Binance of "blatantly setting exchange rate for Nigeria, hijacking CBN role." He urged the CBN to "move against these platforms trying to manipulate our national currency to Ground Zero."

Nigerians increasingly turned to Binance amid rising inflation in the country and the Naira's devaluation in recent years. While the central bank has implemented measures to help stabilize the currency, it has achieved little to no success so far.

The allegations come as Binance's founder and former CEO Changpeng Zhao is due for sentencing in April following his guilty plea to a charge of failing to ensure that Binance established an anti-money laundering program to protect its many investors.