One month before Tigran Gambrayan, a compliance officer for the global cryptocurrency exchange Binance, was arrested in February, he was asked by Nigerian officials to pay $150 million in crypto, according to a report from the New York Times. The report suggested that the money was a bribe. 

Gambrayan and his colleague Nadeem Anjarwallar were given 48 hours to make that payment after meeting with Nigerian legislators. Following the payment request, Gamabaryan left Nigeria hurriedly and shared a three-page document describing the request with Binance lawyers and the company’s contacts in the Nigerian government. 

He came back to Nigeria a month later with Nadeem Anjarwalla, his colleague at Binance. That was the last time both Binance staff were free men after they were arrested in February for tax evasion and money laundering charges. Anjarwalla fled an Abuja hotel where he was held before the trial in March. 

Nigerian officials also threatened to arrest Richard Teng, the CEO of Binance. 

The arrest of Gambrayan and Anjarwalla set off a series of events in Nigeria after the country declared crypto a “national security” issue. Binance has since left the country as the company’s website has been blocked in Nigeria.

Since then, Nigerian authorities have clamped down on cryptocurrencies as they believe that crypto traders use centralised exchanges to manipulate the country’s exchange rate. The SEC also told crypto traders on Monday that they should stop peer-to-peer trading on crypto platforms. 

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