• Thursday, June 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Bribery allegations against Binance CEO cast shadow over Nigerian investment climate – SBM Intelligence

We were asked for a bribe to settle Nigerian case — Binance CEO

SBM Intelligence, a risk consultancy firm focusing on Africa, has cautioned that the bribery allegations made by Binance CEO Richard Teng against Nigerian government officials could hinder the country’s efforts to attract foreign investment.

According to the risk consultancy firm, these accusations could deter foreign investment in Nigeria. In its analyses of recent events in the country, SBM Intelligence highlighted the potential economic repercussions of detaining foreign business officials.

“When government officials are perceived as corrupt or willing to engage in unethical behaviour, it can deter foreign investment, undermine the rule of law, and hinder efforts to combat poverty and inequality,” the firm stated.

Read also: Court denies Tigran Gambaryan, Binance executive bail

According to a report by Cointelegraph on Tuesday, May 7, Teng claimed that unidentified individuals demanded a cryptocurrency bribe from Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla before their detention on Feb. 28, 2024.

Despite denials from the Nigerian government, SBM Intelligence stressed the need for a thorough investigation to uncover the truth and hold any guilty officials accountable.

SBM Intelligence warned that the detention of foreign business officials sends a discouraging message to potential investors. “No matter the allegations against Binance, it is essential to remember that the story of one foreign business will serve as a cautionary tale to others.

Read also: Court denies Tigran Gambaryan, Binance executive bail

If Nigeria is tagged as a country where company officials can be solicited for bribes and then detained indefinitely, convincing investors to invest will become exceedingly challenging,” the consultancy firm noted.

This situation is further complicated by the Nigerian government’s stance on cryptocurrency, which contrasts sharply with its growing popularity among Nigerian citizens.

SBM Intelligence pointed out that while individuals are attracted to the investment and transaction opportunities offered by cryptocurrencies, the government views them negatively due to their potential to undermine control over financial transactions and the economy.

The report also mentioned President Bola Tinubu’s efforts to attract foreign investment by travelling to various countries. However, the ongoing detention of Binance executives could overshadow these efforts.

Read also: We were asked for a bribe to settle Nigerian case — Binance CEO

SBM Intelligence emphasised that resolving the issue promptly, fairly, and diplomatically would benefit the Tinubu administration and help restore investor confidence.

The ongoing narrative surrounding the arrest of Binance executives reflects poorly on the Nigerian government. It underscores the need for transparent and ethical governance to foster a conducive environment for foreign investment and economic growth.