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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Former US Prosecutors Demand Action on Binance Exec’s Detention in Nigeria

A coalition of over 100 former US federal prosecutors has called on the United States government to ramp up efforts to secure the release of Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan, who has been detained in Nigeria. This appeal, made in a June 6 letter, urges immediate intervention from Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Gambaryan, the head of compliance at Binance, along with his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla, was detained in Nigeria in February following a contentious meeting with the Nigerian government. While Anjarwalla managed to escape in March, Gambaryan remains imprisoned.

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The former prosecutors criticized the US government’s lack of action, warning of severe consequences if the situation is not promptly addressed. “Tigran is now being held on false charges related to money laundering and tax evasion. He is completely innocent of these charges and, as a mid-tier employee at Binance, does not hold a role that makes him an appropriate stand-in for the company,” they stated.

The group highlighted Gambaryan’s extensive service in law enforcement, including his work on significant cases involving national security, terrorism financing, and identity theft. They argue that his detention is a strategic move to pressure Binance into settlements with the Nigerian government and described his imprisonment as unjust and inhumane.

“[Gambaryan] is currently held at Kuje Prison, which has housed some of Nigeria’s worst criminals, including Boko Haram members. His rights to legal counsel and family contact have been severely restricted,” the letter emphasized.

This appeal coincides with increasing calls for diplomatic action. Earlier this week, several US lawmakers urged President Joe Biden to intervene, asserting that Gambaryan was wrongfully detained and charged with baseless crimes.

The Nigerian government, however, has maintained its commitment to due process in the legal proceedings against Binance and Gambaryan. Authorities have stated that the accused will have the opportunity to defend themselves in court, with the next hearing scheduled for June 20.

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