Home Editor's Pick Binance Urges Fair Treatment for Detained Exec Amid Nigeria Negotiations

Binance Urges Fair Treatment for Detained Exec Amid Nigeria Negotiations


Tensions between Binance, the leading cryptocurrency exchange, and Nigerian authorities show no sign of cooling down. The exchange recently issued a new statement requesting regulatory respect for Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s Anti-Money Laundering Director.

Binance argues that its Anti-Money Laundering Director shouldn’t be held accountable in the ongoing negotiation with the Nigerian government.

According to Binance, Gambaryan lacks decision-making authority within the company, and for this reason, he shouldn’t be held accountable during ongoing discussions with Nigerian officials.

“Binance respectfully requests that Tigran Gambaryan, who has no decision-making power in the company, is not held responsible while current discussions are ongoing between Binance and Nigerian government officials,” wrote Binance.

More Heat on Binance

The latest statement follows news that the Nigerian Court plans to hold hearings for two Binance executives – Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla – on April 4. The country officials detained these execs for investigation on February 26.

Prior to the detention, the Nigerian government publicly accused Binance of indirectly causing national losses. The authorities also demanded $10 billion in compensation from Binance.

In response, Binance suspended services and delisted trading pairs involving the Nigerian Naira currency. Despite the exchange’s affirmation of ongoing negotiations with the government, no clear progress has yet been made.

Instead, the case got worse. The Federal Supreme Court of Nigeria additionally demanded that Binance provide all transaction data of the top 100 local users. Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) even charged Binance with four crimes related to tax evasion, thus continuing to detain the two executives longer than expected.

In late March, Anjarwalla reportedly fled Nigeria. Gambaryan is still under detention and has sued the Nigerian government for violating his constitutional rights regarding freedom of movement and due process. Both detentions involved the confiscation of passports.

Gambaryan has recently demanded the immediate return of his passport and a public apology. Nadeem Anjarwalla has reportedly filed a similar complaint.

Interpol Joins The Circus

According to a recent report from a Nigerian media outlet, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is cooperating with Interpol, the FBI, and the British and Kenyan governments to secure the arrest and extradition of Anjarwalla.

An anonymous source revealed the extradition efforts aim to bring Anjarwalla back to Nigeria to face his money laundering charges in court.

No formal charges were filed against Anjarwalla and Gambaryan initially. However, these two Binance executives were detained for 14 days under a court order at the EFCC’s request.

Following Anjarwalla’s escape from custody, the Nigerian authorities filed five money laundering charges against Binance Holdings Limited, Anjarwalla himself, and Tigran Gambaryan. The charges allege that they laundered a total of $35,400,000.

Nigeria was previously known as a leader in African cryptocurrency adoption. The country is also among the pioneers to pilot a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) initiative. While the country’s economic shift has pushed citizens to seek refuge in cryptocurrencies, it also propels them to abandon their local currency.

Faced with dwindling foreign currency reserves, Nigeria is reportedly tightening controls to limit capital outflow. This includes raising taxes on foreign workers and increasing scrutiny of cryptocurrency transactions.

Binance’s relationship with Nigerian authorities has been strained for some time. In mid-2023, the Securities Commission dealt a blow by accusing the exchange of operating without a license.

Not only in Nigeria, the exchange has also encountered regulatory roadblocks in other countries. Binance has faced a wave of legal repression on a global scale from countries including the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Cyprus, Brazil, Austria, France, Germany, and Australia. Despite its recent settlement with the US DOJ and CFTC, Binance’s legal dispute with the SEC is still unresolved.

While unsuccessfully getting headways with these countries, Binance has expanded elsewhere. The exchange announced its official return to Japan under a new subsidiary as the country became more welcoming to the crypto industry. Binance also secured the first crypto trading platform license in Dubai.

The post Binance Urges Fair Treatment for Detained Exec Amid Nigeria Negotiations appeared first on Blockonomi.

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