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US Leaders Press Biden Admin to Facilitate Release of Binance Exec Held in Nigeria

Shalini Nagarajan
Last updated: | 1 min read
Binance Nigeria

Sixteen US lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden to facilitate the return of Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive held in Nigeria for over three months on allegations of money laundering and tax evasion.

The June 4 letter was addressed to Biden, Secretary Antony Blinken, and Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens. In it, lawmakers emphasized the need for urgent intervention, saying Gambaryan is being held unjustly.

A Fox Business reporter, Eleanor Terrett, shared a copy of the letter on X. It stressed that Gambaryan is being treated poorly while in detention. For instance, he is not allowed to meet with his lawyers privately, as there are officials and armed guards always present.

They further called for the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs’ involvement in Gambaryan’s case. They also underscored that the allegations against him are “baseless” and represent a coercive tactic to pressure Binance.

Nigeria Trial Takes Dramatic Turn as Binance Exec Collapses

Gambaryan, a US citizen, along with another Binance exec, Nadeem Anjarwalla, were initially arrested in Nigeria in February. They were charged with accusations of money laundering and tax evasion. Shortly after, Anjarwalla absconded but was apprehended again nearly 3,000 miles away in Kenya.

Last month, Gambaryan collapsed in court during his trial for alleged money laundering. The incident took place at the Federal High Court in Abuja shortly after the proceedings were set to resume under Justice Emeka Nwite.

He was refused bail on May 18 and failed to attend a court hearing on May 22, leading to uncertainty about his whereabouts. When he appeared the next day, his physical state had significantly worsened.

The event played out as he didn’t approach the stand when called. Though his lawyer helped him from the back row, he reportedly collapsed midway and needed to be seated in the front.

Citing declining health, his lawyer filed a written application informing the court of his condition.

Malaria Diagnosis Raises Alarm

Gambaryan’s health has been declining since February. According to a letter submitted to the court, his condition became critical the day before the hearing, requiring hospitalization for malaria with intravenous treatment.

Despite a court order mandating private hospital care, he has not received it, according to US politicians.

Fearing for his life, the politicians have called for swift action to guarantee his safety and prevent a tragic outcome.