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Nigerian official alleges Binance manipulated currency on first day of Gambaryan trial – DL News

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Binance Executive on Trial for Allegedly Manipulating Nigerian Currency

The trial of Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan has taken a surprising turn in Abuja, Nigeria, as prosecutors have accused the world’s top crypto exchange of devaluing the country’s fiat currency, the naira. The trial, which began on Friday, has seen Gambaryan denied bail and incarcerated for over 100 days.

Abdulkadir Abbas, a director of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission, testified that Binance’s peer-to-peer trading platform acted as an unofficial marketplace for foreign exchange trading in Nigeria, adversely affecting the naira’s official exchange rate. The SEC director stated that Binance’s market size in Nigeria made the company’s platform a reference point for determining the naira’s exchange rate.

The accusations against Binance come amidst a broader legal crisis in Nigeria, where the company has been accused of perpetrating a $35 million money laundering scheme and tax evasion. Gambaryan, along with his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla, have denied the allegations, with Anjarwalla managing to escape to Kenya, where he is based as Binance’s regional manager.

Binance’s troubles in Nigeria began earlier this year when the government blamed the company for the country’s currency woes, alleging that Binance allowed Nigerians to trade a digital version of the naira against Tether’s USDT. Despite denying accusations of foreign exchange racketeering, Binance dispatched Gambaryan and Anjarwalla to settle the dispute, leading to their detention after failing to reach a compromise with Nigerian authorities.

Gambaryan, who heads Binance’s financial crimes compliance department, remains in custody in Kuje Prison in Abuja. The trial is set to resume on May 23, with Gambaryan’s lawyer requesting an adjournment to review exhibits tendered in court for cross-examination of the SEC director. Binance’s new leadership, under Richard Teng, has pledged to focus on regulatory compliance, with efforts to liaise with Nigeria’s SEC for clarity on regulations.

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