Detained Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan Denied Bail By Nigerian Court

Tigran Gambaryan, the Binance executive detained in Nigeria, was denied bail on his 40th birthday, according to a court hearing in Abuja on Friday.

According to Nigerian media outlet Punch News, Judge Emeka Nwite ordered the crypto exchange’s Head of Compliance to stay in prison, citing his potential to jump bail if granted.

Nigerian Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan Denied Bail, Wife Speaks Out

Gambaryan was originally detained alongside Binance’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nadeem Anjarwalla, in late February before being charged with money laundering and tax evasion.

Anjarwalla later fled on foot and is still at large, despite earlier reports alleging that the Binance executive was recaptured in Kenya.

On this very unhappy birthday, a reminder that @TigranGambaryan has been dedicated to public service and fighting crime for most of his life. These charges against him are completely meritless. He should be freed while discussions continue between Binance and Nigerian government…

— Noah Perlman (@NoahBPerlman) May 17, 2024

“I truly cannot believe my innocent husband is now – on his 40th birthday – having to face a trial for charges he has nothing to do with,” Tigran’s wife Yuki Gambaryan said in a statement originally published by DL News. “The whole world is watching what he is being put through and I just pray that common sense and justice will prevail and that Tigran will be allowed to come home to us.”

Nigerian Government Pushes Back Against Richard Teng’s Claims

Earlier this month, Binance CEO Richard Teng addressed the situation publicly for the first time in a blog post on the crypto exchange’s website. In it, he alleged that employees were originally approached by “unknown persons” in the African country who promised “to make these issues go away” should the crypto company accept a secret settlement.

According to the New York Times, the “settlement” was actually a $150 million bribe from a Nigerian government official.

“Our team grew increasingly concerned about their safety in Nigeria and immediately departed,” Teng said, refusing the deal.

When the Binance executives were invited back for a series of policy talks under the assurance they would be granted “safe passage for their meetings,” the duo was detained.

The Nigerian government has since come out to deny Teng’s claims, saying they lack “any iota of substance.”

“It is nothing but a diversionary tactic and an attempted act of blackmail by a company desperate to obfuscate the grievous criminal charges it is facing in Nigeria,” a statement from Nigeria’s Ministry of Information and National Orientation said. “The facts of this matter remain that Binance is being investigated in Nigeria for allowing its platform to be used for money laundering, terrorism financing, and foreign exchange manipulation through illegal trading.”

Gambaryan’s formal arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22. It is unclear when or if Anjarwalla will be extradited to Nigeria should he be captured.

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