BTC -1.46%
ETH -0.07%
SOL -0.27%
PEPE 2.78%
SHIB -1.87%
BNB -0.86%
DOGE -0.70%
XRP -0.71%
presale is live

Ex-Prosecutors Join Push for White House Support in Binance Exec’s Nigeria Detention Case

Shalini Nagarajan
Last updated: | 1 min read
Binance Nigeria

Over 100 former US law enforcement officials penned a letter to Secretary Blinken, calling on the State Department to take stronger action to free Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive detained in Nigeria.

It comes just a day after 16 members of Congress sent a similar letter, adding to the State Department’s pressure.

The letter highlighted Gambaryan’s role as a family man with two young children. It also points to his decade-long US Internal Revenue Service Special Agent career. Axios reported that investor and Coinbase board member Katie Haun initiated the letter.

Binance Execs Caught in Nigeria Standoff

In Jan. 2024, Gambaryan, along with other Binance staff, went to Nigeria for a meeting with government officials to talk about financial regulations. However, Binance’s CEO Richard Teng claims a Nigerian official tried to strong-arm the crypto exchange representatives into a secret bribery deal. This deal would supposedly resolve accusations the Nigerian government made against Binance.

After the unsettling meeting in Nigeria, Binance representatives, including Gambaryan, left the country due to safety concerns. Despite this, in Feb. 2024, at the Nigerian government’s invitation and with assurances of safety, Gambaryan returned to Nigeria along with fellow colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla to resume discussions about following financial rules.

Things got messier in March. Both executives were unexpectedly held in Nigeria for two weeks. They were then slapped with accusations of money laundering and tax evasion.

Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan dual national, allegedly left the country in March using a hidden Kenyan passport. Meanwhile, Gambaryan, still in Nigeria, entered a not guilty plea to money laundering charges during a court appearance in April.

Ex-Prosecutors Declare Gambaryan’s Innocence and Demand Urgent Action

The ex-prosecutors wrote that Gambaryan is “completely innocent.” His mid-level position at Binance doesn’t make him a high-enough ranking official to represent the company in this situation, they added.

They also mentioned the he’s being held at Kuje Prison, known for housing dangerous criminals.

To emphasize the need for immediate action, the ex-prosecutors pointed to his declining health, including fainting in court, possibly due to malaria.