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Reps issue warrant of arrest for Binance CEO, others

The House of Representatives on Monday threatened to invoke its constitutional powers to subpoena and arrest the Chief Executive Officer of Binance Holding Limited, Richard Teng.

Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, Ginger Obinna issued the notice at the end of the resumed investigative hearing into the petition written by a Civil Society Organisation – Empowerment for Unemployment Initiative which was referred by the House for further legislative action.

Worried by the repeated refusal of the Binance Executive Officer from honouring the invitations sent to the Group, Hon. Obinna maintained that Binance Executives would be compelled to appear before the Committee to answer questions on a petition concerning on financing of terrorism, money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crimes.

Speaking during the session, a Lawyer who represented Binance Group, Mr. Senator Ihenyen, said among other reasons that the Company’s Executives who are not based in the country were apprehensive because two of their executives who were arrested recently and are still in custody.

While frowning at the legal representation sent by the company to the investigative hearing, Hon. Obinna said: “Binance is not here. We have taken a position on it in our last sitting that we are not going to entertain legal representation from Binance and that position stands.

“Based on the fact that Binance is not here, we need to make a recommendation to the House of Representatives for the House to invoke its powers of subpoena to issue a warrant for the leadership of Binance to be arrested and be brought to this Committee to answer questions of the grave allegations levelled against them in the petitions brought to us by the Empowerment for Unemployed Youths and Niger Delta youths Council.

“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 the relationship financing of terrorism, money laundering and other financial crimes as stated in the petition including evasion of tax.

“We thank the petitioners for unearthing this grievous financial crimes going on in this country for more than six years now.

“Binance has been operating in the financial space of this country for more than six year and they have not less than 20 million Nigerians that they are exploiting.”

Speaking at the sidelines of the investigative hearing, the Petitioner – Empowerment for Unemployment Initiative, represented by Mr. Solomon Adodo expressed delight over the outcomes of the whistle-blown by his Organisation.

He observed that the development led to series of investigations including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which alleged that over $26 billion had passed through Binance within one year.

“Binance does not have any proper presence in Nigeria so that when we have an issue we could go to. So, Binance was just operating in isolation, and we had situation where young men, men and women were losing money on that platform.

“Then we began to carry out thorough investigation which took a lot of time before our petition came before the House on the 5th of December, 2023.

“We now realised that in order to evade payment of taxes to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Binance is not registered in Nigeria. Binance despite the push by SEC sometime in 2022 refused to even heed to the call that SEC made and so we listed all of these in our petition.

“Binance is not registered, Binance has evaded taxes, and this is running into billions of dollars. These are monies that ordinarily would have been used to grow and develop the economy, alleviate the plight of the masses and create jobs for unemployed youths.

“We also realized again that when this government came on board, there were individuals who at some points wanted to channel funds and funnel funds through platforms that could not be easily traced and Binance was one of such leading platforms through which terrorism financing was done and money laundering.

“And in the course of this, Nigeria also lost several billions of naira, again our national security was also affected.

“And so, we took it up on ourselves as patriotic Citizens to blow the whistle and to bring a petition before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes, and the House swung into action immediately.

“As you can see sometimes that started like a little whistleblowing, today the CBN is on its feet and has also unearthed the fact that over 26 billion passed through Binance in the last one year or so. The National Security Adviser is also doing their own investigation on their own part, but overall the House is on this. Our petition is before the House of Representatives, and you see today there is a resolution.

“We are sure that Binance would be brought to answer to all of these things and to remedy every wrong that has been done to Nigerian nation and against the Nigerian people,” Mr. Adodo noted.

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