Reps agitate arrest warrant against Binance CEO over alleged terrorism financing, money laundering

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The House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has recommended the arrest of the chief executive officer of Binance Holding Ltd. over alleged tax invasion and money laundering in Nigeria.

The recommendation followed a motion by Isah Dogonyaro (APC-Jigawa State) at a public hearing on Monday in Abuja.

The hearing was on a petition by the Empowerment Fund for Nigerian Youth Initiative and the Niger Delta Youth Council of Nigeria on several crimes allegedly committed by Binance.

Binance is an online financial company that has been operating in the cyberspace of Nigeria for more than six years, with at least 20 million Nigerians on the platform.

Moving the motion, Mr Dogonyaro said the committee had earlier invited the CEO of Binance to appear and respond to questions on terrorism, tax invasion, and money laundering against the company but failed to appear.

He said the committee gave another chance to enable the CEO to appear on March 4, 2024, but has refused to appear again. According to him, the refusal to appear was an insult to the committee and the Nigerians.

In his response to the legal counsel to Binance, Senator Ihenyen said the company had responded in writing to all the allegations against it.

He said the company was also ready to provide more answers in writing if the need arises in the cause of the hearing.

Mr Ihenyen, however, explained that the company was concerned about the safety of its officials in Nigeria following the recent arrest of two senior officials by the office of the National Security Adviser.

In his ruling, the committee chairman, Ginger Obinna (LP-Abia), said the committee had taken a position on its last sitting not to entertain legal representation from Binance.

He said the leadership of Binance should be arrested and brought to the committee to answer questions about the grave allegations levelled against the company in a petition brought to the committee.

“This committee has resolved to recommend to the House to invoke its constitutional powers by issuing a subpoena and a warrant for Binance executives to be arrested and brought to this committee to answer these questions on terrorism, money laundering and other financial crimes as stated in the petition, including evasion of tax,” he said.

The chairman thanked the petitioners for unearthing the grievous financial crimes and the exploitation of 20 million young Nigerians in the last six years.

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