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Illicit $26bn go through Binance Nigeria, others – Cardoso

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By Bisi LAWAL

 

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Olayemi Cardoso has said that certain practices go on that indicate illicit flows going through a number of entities, ‘suspicious flows at best’.

Cardoso who made this known to journalists after the committee’s meeting at the CBN headquarters in Abuja pointed out that nothing less than $26 billion was moved by unknown sources through Binance Nigeria in one year.

Binance is an online exchange where users can trade cryptocurrencies.

Cardoso emphasized that the CBN was ready to make some aggressive regulations to strengthen the economy, reiterating a clampdown on crypto exchanges — including Binance.

Cardoso said the country’s apex bank is collaborating with the SEC to ensure there is no manipulation in the FX market.

“We are concerned that certain practices go on that indicate illicit flows going through a number of these entities, suspicious flows at best,” Cardoso said.

“In the case of Binance, in the last one year alone, $26bn has passed through Nigeria from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify.

“There’s a lot that is going on now as a result of collaboration between the different agencies which includes EFCC, the police, and of course, the office of the NSA.

“And in due course, as we progress and have more information to share, we will certainly share.

“But suffice to say that we are determined to do everything it takes to ensure that we take charge of our market or put it differently to not allow others to manipulate our markets in a way that ends us distortionary and sub-optimises for all Nigerians.”

He added that the apex bank will ensure that this “type of infraction” does not take place.

On February 20, 2024, the CBN and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) announced a partnership to investigate and penalise those involved in illicit activities within the FX market.

Recall, in June 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said the operation of Binance Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Binance, was illegal.

The Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, few days ago, shared some reports on X, supporting an act that could be seen as a confirmation of the development.

He had called for a ban on Binance and other crypto platforms operating in Nigeria to curb foreign exchange (FX) rate distortions.

 

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