March 27, 2024
Binance Execs Detained in Nigerian Capital Despite Exit
Latest Cryptocurrency News

Binance Execs Detained in Nigerian Capital Despite Exit

Despite Binance’s recent announcement of its withdrawal from Nigeria, reports reveal that two senior Binance executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, are still detained in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. The detention has been ongoing for two weeks, with the individuals held at a government property since February 26, 2024.

Gambaryan, leading Binance’s criminal investigations team, and Anjarwalla, Binance’s Africa regional manager in Kenya, are passport-less detainees. Families of the detained executives have expressed frustration as Nigerian prosecutors have not provided information regarding potential criminal charges. Yuki Gambaryan, Tigran Gambaryan’s wife, stated, “There’s no definite answer for anything: how he’s doing, what’s going to happen to him when he’s coming back.”

A spokesperson from Binance confirmed that both Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were still in detention in Nigeria as of March 12. The representative emphasized their professionalism and integrity, expressing confidence in a swift resolution to the matter.

“While it is inappropriate for us to comment on the substance of the claims at this time, we can say that we are working collaboratively with Nigerian authorities to bring Nadeem and Tigran back home safely to their families.”

The arrests occurred in late February, following the arrival of the executives in Abuja on February 25. The visit was in response to the Nigerian government’s invitation to address the ongoing dispute with Binance regarding its alleged unlawful operations in the country. The discussions were intended to address the government’s order to block access to Binance and other crypto exchanges by the country’s telecoms.

Gambaryan at an event by Consensus. Source: WSJ

Instead of reaching a resolution, Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were allegedly taken to their hotels after the initial meeting, ordered to pack their belongings, and brought to a guesthouse run by Nigeria’s National Security Agency. Their passports were seized, and they have been held against their will since then.

Reports indicate that Gambaryan and Anjarwalla had meetings with a U.S. State Department official and a representative of the U.K. Foreign Office, respectively. However, Nigerian government guards were present during these meetings, preventing private discussions.

The arrests occurred a few days before Binance officially declared its complete exit from Nigeria on March 5. The company’s exit roadmap involved the suspension of NGN withdrawals on March 8, the removal of all trading pairs involving the naira on March 7, and the earlier disabling of peer-to-peer trading with the naira in late February.

As the situation unfolds, there is growing concern over the lack of transparency from Nigerian authorities regarding the charges faced by Gambaryan and Anjarwalla. Binance remains hopeful for a prompt resolution and continues to emphasize the integrity of the detained executives. The crypto community is closely watching the developments surrounding this incident in Nigeria.

Image by Flickr

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