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Binance: FG Replies US Lawmakers on Tigran Gambaryan

Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan
Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan

Federal government of Nigeria has debunked allegations that the health of a United States Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan is deteriorating while in custody at Kuje Correctional Service.

Mohammed Idris, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and National Orientation issued the rebuttal in a statement on Friday.

Without stating who he was referring to, his statement may not be unconnected with the recent post by two US Members of Congress, Representative French Hill (Republican) and Representative Chrissy Houlahan (Democrat) who visited Gambaryan at the Kuje Detention facility on June 19th 2024 and posted a video of the visit on X page calling for his release.

Gambaryan alongside Binance are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations bordering on money laundering and foreign exchange contravention.

FG’s position on Gambaryan

In his statement, Idris advised those concerned to note that Gambaryan’s detention is based on an order of court.

The ministry explained that while the client is held in lawful custody, he has access to healthcare.

“It has become necessary for the Federal Government of Nigeria to address claims that Binance Executive, Tigran Gambaryan is being held in unsavoury prison conditions in Nigeria, or that his health is deteriorating.

“We would like to state that these allegations are false and should be ignored.

“Gambaryan is being held in lawful detention and has access to quality medical care whenever required,” Idris stated.

The minister stated that Gambaryan also has full access to consular services from his home government, assuring that the Federal Government will not do anything to jeopardize his fundamental rights to lawful trial, and to quality care, including healthcare, even as he undergoes trial by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The ministry stressed further,

“It is worth reiterating that his detention is a court-ordered one, and only the court can alter the terms or direct his release.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria will continue to follow due process in its quest to bring Binance to justice — a legitimate sovereign quest that is similarly being pursued in several other countries around the world.

“This adherence to legal and diplomatic standards underscores Nigeria’s dedication to upholding justice and maintaining the integrity of its judicial processes. The executive is being treated with the utmost fairness, and his legal and human rights are being protected throughout the judicial proceedings.

Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki had called on the EFCC to free her husband like the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) did recently.

The lawmakers backed her, saying Tigran has devoted his professional life to fighting money laundering and tax evasion, having spent ten years as an IRS Special Agent where he successfully led cyber and financial crime investigations.

At today’s proceedings, a director at the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Abdulkadir Abbas, continued his testimonies in EFCC’s case against Binance and Gambaryan, insisting that the cryptocurrency platform was not registered to operate in Nigeria.

The matter was further adjourned to July 1 for continuation of cross-examination.

More insights

SEC is a Federal Government agency that carries out registration of all capital market stakeholders, instruments to be traded on the market, and all the trading platforms.

In addition, the SEC makes rules and regulations on the capital market, conducts investigations, investigates enforcement as well as monitors the market.

Abbas, who had identified himself as Director, of Exchanges and Market Infrastructure (SEC), told Justice Emeka Nwite that the Naira P2P feature deployed by Binance as well as the number of people on the platform “adversely affected the official exchange rate.”

Nairametrics reports that a popular method of buying and selling crypto is through Peer-to-peer, otherwise known as P2P.

The seller and buyer are connected in what can be likened to a marketplace.

Binance and its executives are faced with two separate suits by the FIRS and EFCC; the former bordering on tax evasion while the latter on money laundering and foreign exchange contravention.

Nairametrics recalls that the executives have also instituted a fundamental rights case against agencies of the Nigerian government, citing a violation of their constitutional right to liberty but that of Anjarwallan was struck out for lack of diligent prosecution.

On February 28, Nigerian authorities detained the two senior Binance executives.

While FIRS has dropped its charges against Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, EFCC is apparently moving on with its case as of now.

Nairametrics gathered from sources that the EFCC believes Gambaryan and Nadeem allegedly played a role in its money laundering allegations.

Meanwhile, amid the development, several US political stakeholders are pressing its government to compel the Nigerian government to free Gambaryan.

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