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Binance Nigeria: Exec Denies Money Laundering Charges, Binance Urges for his Release

Last Updated April 10, 2024 4:08 PM
Eddie Mitchell
Last Updated April 10, 2024 4:08 PM
Key Takeaways
  • Tigran Gambaryan has pleaded not guilty to tax evasion money laundering charges.
  • The executive is now being held in the Kuje Correctional Centre, a prison in Abuja.
  • The whereabouts of the other exec and escapee, Nadeem Anjarwalla, remain unknown.

Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan has pleaded not guilty to five charges of money laundering and tax evasion during a court hearing on Monday. Following this, he has been transferred to a notorious prison in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

Binance and Gambaryan have argued that the exec lacks any decision-making authority, and should be absolved of any wrongdoing during the ongoing investigations between Nigerian authorities and Binance.

Not Guilty

Gambaryan, Binance’s Head of Financial Crime Compliance and former U.S. Federal Agent appeared in a Nigerian court amid ongoing tensions between the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, and the Nigerian government, who have accused Binance of committing numerous financial crimes.

Having denied charges of tax evasion and money laundering leveled against them by Nigeria’s Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Binance has issued a public statement  on his arrest, arguing strongly that not only is Gambaryan a dedicated financial crimes investigator but also someone who lacks the authority to commit such offenses.

Noting that Gambaryan is renowned as the world’s “preeminent cyber crimes investigator” and highlighting his many merits and accolades, including leading numerous multi-billion dollar investigations into the likes of the My. Gox hack, Silk Road corruption investigations, and others, the exchange writes :

“Tigran is a strict law enforcement professional and is not part of Binance management. While he has left official service of the U.S. government, he has remained fully committed to the role of law enforcement officer ever since, operating as a global advocate for good governance and transparent regulatory financial practices.”

Binance asks for his timely release, which won’t be happening soon as the exec’s bail hearing has now been postponed until later this month.

Transferred to Prison

Matters appear  to be increasingly dire for Gambaryan as he has now been transferred from detainment in a private guarded accommodation, to Kuje Correctional Centre, a prison in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

In a statement following Monday’s hearing, Gambaryans wife said :

“I am beyond heartbroken that my innocent husband is being sent to a prison that houses known terrorists and murderers… it is beyond unacceptable that this is how they are treating a completely innocent man.”

It is presumed that the rather successful escape of fellow Binance colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla – who remains at large – has given Nigerian authorities cause for concern, prompting them to exercise greater caution around Gambaryan.

In their statement , Binance also argues that Gambaryan has worked closely with Nigerian officials and crime fighters over the past several years, not only responding to some 600 information requests from Nigerian law enforcement agencies, but also helping in tackling numerous crimes that resulted in multiple asset “freezes and seizures.”

The Waiting Game

Binance has a great deal to contend with in Nigeria, with major allegations of manipulating the nation’s currency, damaging its value, disturbing the economy, and perhaps processing billions in illicit and unknown funds throughout 2023, amongst others.

Federal High Court Judge, Emeka Nwite, has postponed the hearing of Gambaryan’s bail application until April 18, 2024, which is yet another delay in proceedings since the initial detainment debacle kicked off at the end of February this year.

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