Canada fines Binance $4.38 million for money laundering violations amid probe in Nigeria

Canada’s anti-money laundering agency, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), recently announced a hefty fine of nearly C$6 million ($4.38 million) imposed on cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

This penalty was levied for breaching money laundering and terrorist financing laws.

The fine follows Binance’s ongoing legal battle with the Nigerian government over similar charges related to alleged money laundering totaling $35 million.

According to Reuters, FINTRAC disclosed that Binance had failed to register as a foreign money services business with the intelligence body, despite being given multiple deadlines to do so.

It added that Binance, which ceased operations in Canada last year, had not reported receiving virtual currency worth C$10,000 ($7,200) or more on 5,902 separate occasions between June 1, 2021, and July 19, 2023.

The latest development comes weeks after Binance’s former CEO Changpeng Zhao was sentenced to four months in prison after pleading guilty to violating U.S. laws against money laundering.

Binance agreed to a $4.32 billion penalty, and Zhao paid a $50 million criminal fine plus $50 million to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Furthermore, Binance has been embroiled in a dispute with the Nigerian government over alleged money laundering amounting to $35 million.

On Tuesday, Binance CEO Richard Teng accused the Nigerian government of blackmail and bribery, alleging that Nigerian officials sought a cryptocurrency bribe from Binance executives Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla before their detention on February 28, 2024.

Teng stated in a blog post that Binance’s employees were approached by unknown individuals suggesting a secret cryptocurrency payment to settle the allegations.

The Nigerian government countered these accusations, branding them as diversionary tactics and blackmail aimed at undermining the government’s stance.

The government spokesperson emphasized that the allegations lacked substance and were intended to divert attention from the serious criminal charges Binance is facing in Nigeria.

On February 28, Nairametrics reported that Nigeria officials detained two senior Binance executives.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, a 37-year-old British Kenyan who serves as the regional manager for Africa, and Tigran Gambaryan, a 39-year-old American in charge of financial crime compliance at Binance.

The executives visited Nigeria in response to the country’s recent crackdown on various cryptocurrency trading platforms.
During their stay, they were apprehended by the ONSA, and their passports were confiscated.

In response to the detention of its executives, Binance discontinued the trading of the naira against bitcoin and tether cryptocurrencies on its exchange.

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