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Nigeria Intensified its Crackdown on Cryptocurrency by Detaining Binance Executives

The arrest, first reported by the Financial Times on Wednesday, follows a move last week that saw telecom providers shut off user access to the websites of Binance, Coinbase and other crypto exchanges. Crypto platforms have been scaling down services in Nigeria in the period since. On Wednesday, Binance stopped offering peer-to-peer trades that allowed users to exchange the naira for USDT, a digital currency pegged to the U.S. dollar. During a Tuesday briefing after hiking Nigeria’s interest rate to 22.75%, central bank governor Yemi Cardoso singled out Binance while detailing suspected manipulations of the naira on crypto platforms. “In the last one year alone, $26 billion has passed through Binance Nigeria from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify,” Cardoso said. A report by Nigerian publication Premium Times said the executives, an American and a British citizen, arrived in the country on Sunday and declined a request for user transaction data at a meeting with security investigators on Monday.