April 19, 2024
Latest Cryptocurrency News

Binance Executives Face Escalating Troubles in Nigeria

Binance, the troubled global cryptocurrency exchange, finds itself embroiled in further turmoil in Nigeria as one of its United States-based executives, Tigran Gambaryan, remains detained in the country.

Nigeria has intensified its actions against Binance, introducing additional charges despite the exchange’s efforts to engage in dialogue with local regulators, as reported by The Wall Street Journal on April 3.

Dialogue Attempts Thwarted as Executives Detained

Binance had been actively collaborating with Nigerian authorities following accusations from local regulators that the exchange contributed to the crash of the Nigerian naira in February 2024.

In response to threats of a ban on platforms like Binance by Bayo Onanuga, the presidential adviser on information and strategy, two senior Binance executives, Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, traveled to Nigeria to initiate discussions with local authorities.

Binance’s Tigran Gambaryan at a 2023 conference. Source: WSJ

However, both executives were detained, despite Binance’s swift action in delisting all naira transactions and halting peer-to-peer naira transactions earlier in February

Escalating Charges and Legal Proceedings

The Wall Street Journal’s report of new charges against Binance comes amid the exchange’s plea for Nigerian authorities to release Gambaryan. Binance argued that Gambaryan, as an executive with decision-making authority, should not be held accountable while negotiations are continuing.

Meanwhile, Anjarwalla reportedly fled the country using a fake passport in March, evading detention after being taken for prayers at a nearby mosque.

The Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria is gearing up to formally charge both executives with five counts of money laundering totaling over $35.4 million. Gambaryan and Anjarwalla are listed as the first and third defendants, respectively, with Anjarwalla set to be arraigned in absentia.

Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja is reportedly slated to preside over the proceedings. The outcome of these developments remains uncertain, casting a shadow over the future of Binance’s operations in Nigeria.

Image from Wallpapers.com

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