Bitcoin

Ex-Prosecutors Demand US Intervention in Binance Executive’s Release

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Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan has been held captive in a Nigerian prison since February. A group of over 100 ex-US prosecutors are demanding the government to step up to free him.

Gambaryan, Binance’s Compliance Head, was arrested in Nigeria along with his colleague Nadeem Anjanwalla after their meeting with government officials went awry. Anjanwalla managed to escape prison and flee the country, but Gambaryan remains arrested.

Nigerian officials detained both executives on false pretexts of Binance indulging in money laundering in their jurisdiction. While no proof exists, this action is perceived as an extortion attempt. Contacts from the Nigerian government allegedly demanded a bribe of $150 million in crypto to settle the money laundering charges against Binance when Gambaryan visited the country previously in January alongside other representatives from the firm.

Nevertheless, they fled Nigeria that month, understanding the request to be a bribe. However, Gambaryan returned with Anjanwalla in February for more transparent negotiations. That is when they were detained.

The group of ex-US prosecutors demanding his return have written to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken about the false charges, stating, “He is completely innocent of these charges and, as a mid-tier employee at Binance, does not hold a role that makes him an appropriate stand-in for the company.”

Gambaryan is held in Kuje Prison, a detention facility known to house some of the most notorious criminals in Nigeria, including terrorists from outfits like the Boko Haram. The Binance official, during his detainment, is said to have not been given the privileges of availing legal counsel or contacting his family.

US lawmakers have also reached out to the US President Joe Biden regarding Gambaryan’s unjust detainment. Nigeria states that they will maintain their due process in the matter and allow Gambaryan and Binance to fairly stand trial in their courts, with June 20 being the next scheduled hearing.

Image by Joseph Fulgham from Pixabay


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