Nigeria Files Additional Charges Against Binance and Its Detained Executive

April 3, 2024
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The global cryptocurrency exchange Binance finds itself embroiled in deeper woes in Nigeria as its United States-based executive, Tigran Gambaryan, remains detained in the country even as fresh charges are levied against the platform.

Binance has been actively engaging with Nigerian authorities since allegations emerged linking the crypto exchange to the depreciation of the Nigerian naira in February. Bayo Onanuga, the presidential adviser on information and strategy, even suggested banning platforms like Binance within the country.

In response to the looming threat of a ban, two senior Binance executives, Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, traveled to Nigeria to hold discussions with local authorities. However, both executives were detained, despite Binance’s actions to delist all naira transactions and halt peer-to-peer naira transactions in February itself.

Binance also issued a statement urging Nigerian authorities to release Gambaryan, arguing that he holds decision-making power within the company and should not be held accountable as discussions with Nigerian government officials are ongoing.

While Gambaryan remains in custody in Nigeria, Anjarwalla reportedly fled the country using a fake passport in March. Local reports suggest that Anjarwalla managed to escape detention on March 22, allegedly after being taken to a nearby mosque for prayers.

Despite Anjarwalla’s escape, Nigeria’s Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) is gearing up to formally press charges against both executives.

The EFCC plans to arraign Anjarwalla in absentia while Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja is set to preside over the proceedings involving Gambaryan, Anjarwalla, and Binance.

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