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Nigeria Defends Prosecution of Binance Executive Amid U.S. Lawmakers’ Criticism

ByDayne Lee

Jun 8, 2024

Nigeria Defends Prosecution of Binance Executive Amid U.S. Lawmakers’ Criticism

The Nigerian Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, has affirmed that the ongoing legal proceedings against Binance and its executive, Tigran Gambaryan, adhere strictly to the country’s legal protocols. Gambaryan faces charges related to illegal cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria, which the Nigerian authorities assert have been handled with due process at every stage.

Legal Process and Confidence in the Case

Minister Idris emphasized that the prosecution of Binance and Gambaryan has been conducted with full adherence to legal standards. “The legal proceedings have followed due process at every stage,” Idris stated, expressing confidence in the strength of the evidence gathered against Binance and Gambaryan.

Gambaryan, a high-profile executive within Binance, is charged with severe financial crimes, including money laundering and tax evasion. He will have the opportunity to defend these charges in court, with the next hearing scheduled for June 20, 2024.

The Nigerian government’s stance comes in response to a recent appeal from 12 United States politicians to President Joe Biden. The appeal urged the U.S. government to engage its hostage affairs unit to secure Gambaryan’s release. The politicians described the charges as “baseless,” suggesting they were part of a coercive strategy by Nigerian authorities to extort Binance.

In his statement, Idris reassured that Binance and Gambaryan have received appropriate consular access from the U.S. He underscored that all actions taken have adhered to standard diplomatic protocols and the rule of law.

Key EventsDetails
Legal ProceedingsFollowed due process with confidence in the evidence against Binance and Gambaryan.
ChargesMoney laundering, tax evasion, and illegal cryptocurrency trading.
Next Court HearingScheduled for June 20, 2024.
U.S. Lawmakers’ AppealUrged the U.S. government to secure Gambaryan’s release, claiming the charges were baseless.
Nigerian Government’s ResponseConfirmed adherence to legal and diplomatic protocols.

Concerns Over Flight Risk and Bail Denial

Minister Idris highlighted that bail for Gambaryan was denied due to concerns over his potential flight risk. This decision was influenced by the fact that a co-defendant, Nadeem Anjarwalla, evaded custody and fled to Kenya. Anjarwalla is now subject to an Interpol arrest warrant.

The gravity of the charges and the previous escape of a co-defendant contributed to the court’s decision to keep Gambaryan in custody at the Kuje correctional center in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Binance and its executives are entangled in two separate legal battles in Nigeria. The Federal Inland Revenue Service has filed a suit concerning tax evasion, while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s case involves allegations of money laundering and contraventions of foreign exchange regulations.

SuitFiled ByCharges
Tax EvasionFederal Inland Revenue ServiceFailure to comply with tax laws.
Money LaunderingEconomic and Financial Crimes CommissionInvolvement in illicit financial activities.

Background on Gambaryan’s Arrest

In February, Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen, and Nadeem Anjarwalla were arrested on suspicions of money laundering and tax evasion. While Anjarwalla managed to evade custody and flee to Kenya, Gambaryan remained detained in Nigeria.

The arrests came amidst the Nigerian government’s broader efforts to clamp down on cryptocurrency activities. As part of this crackdown, the government had previously banned cryptocurrency trading channels to curb currency speculation and reduce the volatility in the local financial markets.

The court has since mandated Binance to provide the Nigerian government with access to data and details of Nigerian traders using its platform. This move is seen as part of the effort to scrutinize and regulate cryptocurrency activities within the country.

The prosecution of Binance and its executives highlights the complex interplay between regulatory enforcement and the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry. Nigeria’s approach underscores its commitment to establishing control over financial activities that intersect with digital currencies, amidst growing global scrutiny.

As the legal battles continue, the broader implications for Binance, its executives, and the cryptocurrency industry at large remain to be seen. The Nigerian government’s commitment to following due process and upholding the rule of law will be pivotal in navigating these challenges.

Featured image credit: DALL-E by ChatGPT

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.

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