On the Run: Binance Executive Escapes Nigerian Custody Amid Four-Count Criminal Charges

March 25, 2024

In a startling turn of events that has captivated both the business and crypto communities, a top-tier Binance executive has successfully evaded Nigerian custody. This audacious breakout comes hot on the heels of the Nigerian government leveling a formidable four-count criminal charge against the executive. 

Binance’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan national, has reportedly escaped lawful custody on Friday. Anjarwalla, who is currently under investigation as a suspect in Nigeria’s ongoing criminal probe into Binance’s activities, managed to evade authorities, as confirmed by local media outlets and later verified by the country’s Office of the National Security Adviser.

The 38-year-old executive reportedly made his daring escape last Friday from a guest house in Abuja where he and a colleague were detained. The escape allegedly occurred when guards on duty escorted him to a nearby mosque for prayers in observance of the ongoing Ramadan fast, the local news claimed, citing “those familiar with the matter” as the source of information.

Another source familiar with the situation reportedly told the local news that the detained Binance executives were held at a “comfortable guest house” where they were granted various privileges, including access to telephones. It is believed that Anjarwalla exploited this privilege to orchestrate his daring escape. 

Nadeem Anjarwalla’s suspected escape route took a surprising international turn, as he is believed to have departed from Abuja aboard a Middle East airline. The mystery deepens regarding how Anjarwalla managed to board an international flight, especially since his British passport—used for his entry into Nigeria—is allegedly still held by Nigerian authorities.

In a recent statement addressing the unfolding situation, a spokesperson for Binance confirmed that Anjarwalla is no longer in Nigerian custody. Emphasizing the company’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its employees, the spokesperson stated that Binance is actively collaborating with Nigerian authorities to expedite a resolution to this pressing issue. 

“We were made aware that Nadeem is no longer in Nigerian custody. Our primary focus remains on the safety of our employees and we are working collaboratively with Nigerian authorities to quickly resolve this issue,” a Binance spokesperson said.

The Office of the National Security Adviser has initiated collaboration with Interpol to secure an international arrest warrant for Anjarwalla. Official reports suggest that the Binance platform may have facilitated the laundering of approximately $21 billion.

Anjarwalla, along with another Binance executive, was detained upon their arrival in Nigeria on February 26. Subsequently, the court authorized the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to detain both individuals for an initial 14-day period. The court also directed Binance to grant the Nigerian government access to data and information regarding Nigerian traders on its platform.

However, Binance’s refusal to comply with the court’s order led to an extension of the executives’ detention by an additional 14 days, aimed at safeguarding potential evidence from tampering. The Nigerian government has escalated its regulatory actions against individuals and entities suspected of involvement in terrorist financing and money laundering activities associated with the Binance cryptocurrency exchange. 

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