Press "Enter" to skip to content

Nigerian Government Defends Due Process in Binance Executive’s Trial Amid US Lawmaker Appeals

Nigerian Government Defends Due Process in Binance Executive's Trial Amid US Lawmaker Appeals

The Nigerian government has reiterated its commitment to due process in the trial of Tigran Gambaryan, a top executive at Binance, who is facing charges of tax evasion and other economic crimes. This follows calls from 16 US lawmakers urging President Joe Biden to secure Gambaryan’s release, claiming he is being wrongfully detained.

Background and Charges

Gambaryan, a US citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, was arrested in February 2024 during a visit to Nigeria to discuss compliance issues. He faces charges of money laundering, tax evasion, and currency speculation involving over $34 million. His colleague, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who was also charged, escaped custody in March and is now subject to an Interpol warrant.

Nigerian Government’s Position

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, emphasized that all legal protocols are being followed in Gambaryan’s case. Idris stated that prosecutors have gathered substantial evidence and are confident in their case. He assured that Binance and Gambaryan would have the opportunity to defend themselves in court, with the next hearing scheduled for June 20, 2024.

Idris noted that Gambaryan has been granted consular access and all necessary care, following diplomatic protocols. He explained that bail was denied due to concerns about Gambaryan being a flight risk, particularly after Anjarwalla’s escape.

The minister also highlighted that Binance had operated in Nigeria without proper registration or tax payments, despite a turnover exceeding $20 billion in 2023. This, he said, contributed to currency speculation and the cost-of-living crisis in the country. Idris referenced Binance’s troubled history, mentioning that its representatives have faced legal actions globally.

US Lawmakers’ Appeals

In a letter dated June 4, 2024, US lawmakers, including Congress members Michael McCaul and Rich McCormick, urged President Biden to intervene, describing Gambaryan’s detention as coercion by the Nigerian government to extort Binance. They claimed that Gambaryan’s health and well-being are in danger and labeled his detention as “wrongful.”

The lawmakers called for Gambaryan’s case to be transferred to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, citing his contributions as a former IRS agent who led significant cyber investigations.

Official Statements and Concerns

Despite the US lawmakers’ appeals, Nigerian officials have maintained that Gambaryan is being treated according to the law. Idris dismissed claims of wrongful detention, emphasizing that no one’s life is in danger and that due process is being followed. He reiterated the serious nature of the charges against Binance and its executives and the broader implications for financial crimes and regulatory compliance.

As the trial progresses, Nigeria insists on adhering to due process while addressing international concerns. The outcome of the June 20 hearing will be closely watched, given the significant legal and diplomatic stakes involved.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *