July 24, 2024
Nigerian Authorities Drop Charges Against Binance Executive
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Nigerian Authorities Drop Charges Against Binance Executive

On June 14, Nigerian officials announced that they had dropped some of the charges against detained Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) decided to dismiss the tax charges against both Gambaryan and his fellow Binance executive, Nadeem Anjarwalla. Despite this, the two executives still face money laundering charges from Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), with the case scheduled to resume on June 20.

An announcement from Gambaryan family spokespeople. Source: Andy Greenberg

Family and Health Concerns

Spokespeople for the Gambaryan family have denounced the charges as “bogus” and view the dismissal of the tax charges by FIRS as evidence that the executives should never have been charged initially. A significant concern raised in the latest updates is Gambaryan’s health. The Binance executive reportedly collapsed in court on May 23 due to Malaria, and his condition has reportedly worsened since then, now suffering from pneumonia. Family representatives have claimed that prison authorities are not providing transparency regarding Gambaryan’s well-being, adding to their concerns.

“Despite a court order by Justice Emeka Nwite to take Tigran to [the] hospital immediately, it took the prison authorities 11 days to take him for a brief check-up. The prison is not allowing the results of this check-up at the hospital to be released to his family, lawyers nor the U.S. embassy as they have named a person from the prison as his next of kin.”

Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla were arrested by Nigerian authorities in February on allegations of money laundering and tax evasion linked to their work with Binance. This occurred despite Binance’s agreement to cease operations in the African country.

Anjarwalla’s Escape and US Involvement

In March, Nadeem Anjarwalla managed to escape Nigerian custody, reportedly using his Kenyan passport to flee to Kenya. However, he was later tracked down and arrested in Kenya, where he now faces extradition back to Nigeria.

The situation has attracted international attention, particularly from the United States. Lawmakers recently wrote a letter to the State Department and the presidential envoy for hostage affairs, Roger D. Carstens, highlighting Gambaryan’s imprisonment. They described Gambaryan, a former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent, as having been “wrongfully detained.”

Following the lawmakers’ letter, former federal prosecutors have also called for Gambaryan’s release. On June 6, 108 ex-prosecutors signed a letter to the State Department, echoing the appeals from American lawmakers to secure Gambaryan’s release. The combined efforts of these groups underscore the increasing pressure on both Nigerian authorities and international diplomatic channels to address the situation of the detained Binance executive.

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

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