Mon, 17 Jun 2024


Binance: 16 US lawmakers petition Biden, demand return of Gambaryan by Nigeria
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Thu, 6 Jun 2024   ||   Nigeria,

Sixteen members of the United States House of Representatives, have petitioned President Joe Biden, urging him to intervene, as they demand the return of detained Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, to the United States from Nigeria.

He was arrested by the Federal Government in February. Gambaryan was initially held at a guest house before formal charges were brought against him and Binance in an Abuja court in April. He was accused alongside the company, of charges including non-payment of value-added tax and corporate income tax, and complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform.

“On behalf of Mr. Gambaryan, his family, and concerned Americans, we, the undersigned, urgently request and strongly encourage the transfer of his case to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs,” the Congress members wrote in their Tuesday letter, as published by Fox Business correspondent Eleanor Terrett on her X handle on Wednesday.

According to the lawmakers, Gambaryan qualified as a “U.S. citizen wrongfully detained by a foreign government” and his detention has been “marked by excessive and harsh treatment.”

The development reveals the U.S. office co-ordinates efforts on overseas hostage-related matters.

“Mr. Gambaryan’s health and well-being are in danger, and we fear for his life. Immediate action is essential to ensure his safety and preserve his life.

“We must act swiftly before it is too late,” wrote the group of House lawmakers, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, Rep. Michael T. McCaul, R-Texas.

They reiterated that Gambaryan, Binance’s chief of financial compliance, had been “wrongfully detained” since late February after granting the Nigerian government’s request for discussions regarding the crypto giant’s business in the country.

The lawmakers said “the government of Nigeria took Mr. Gambaryan hostage” and thus needs his government’s help to be freed.

They highlighted his work as a former IRS agent who helped lead some of the country’s “most prolific cyber investigations,” including the seizure of $4.725 billion in illicit funds.

The House members’ letter to the President’s office marks the most high-profile move concerning Gambaryan’s case, and marks a significant development, following his family’s continued appeals to the government for help.

The law firm handling Gambaryan’s case previously wrote in a letter to the Nigerian Federal High Court that their client was “very ill” and required immediate and comprehensive medical attention.

Multiple outlets reported that Gambaryan collapsed during a hearing of the case wherein the compliance officer is accused of involvement in Binance’s violations of Nigerian law.

Justice Emeka Nwite ordered for Gambaryan’s transfer to a hospital, but his family said late last month, that he had not been moved to a hospital.

They also revealed that the Binance executive was suspected of having malaria and a severe throat infection.

A spokeswoman for Gambaryan’s family was quoted to have told FOX Business, that Gambaryan is now back in prison, following a brief hospital visit, his health deteriorating rapidly due to poor treatment.

“It has been 100 days since my husband, Tigran, was taken hostage by the Nigerian government. Despite my relentless efforts to bring him home, the fight has been long and difficult. Today, however, it feels like my plea for help may finally be heard by the US government.,” Gambaryan’s wife, Yuki Gambaryan, said through a spokeswoman. “I do hope more members will show their support for Tigran as well and urge the government to take immediate action to bring an innocent American citizen home to his children.”

‘Due Process Being Applied In Ongoing Trial’- FG

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said that due processes are being applied in the ongoing trial of Gambaryan.

The minister, in a statement on Wednesday, explained that the defendant has received consular access and all due care, following normal diplomatic protocols and the rule of law.

He added that the judge in the case has sufficiently posited that Gambaryan was denied bail because he is a flight risk, after his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla fled the country.

See full statement:


Binance Will Face All Due Process On Charges Of Severe Financial Crime – FG

Against the backdrop of continuing interest in the ongoing trial of rogue online platform, Binance, and one of its Chief Executives, who illegally trade in cryptocurrency in Nigeria, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said due processes are being applied in all stages of the trial by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“At all stages, due process has been followed, and prosecutors are confident of their case, based on the facts and evidence gathered. Binance will have every opportunity to defend itself in court against these severe charges of financial crimes against the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The next hearing is on June 20, 2024,” Idris said.

The Minister explained that Binance, the defendant, has received consular access and all due care, following normal diplomatic protocols and the rule of law, adding that the judge in the case has sufficiently posited that bail was denied because of the flight risk, after a co-accused, now the subject of an Interpol warrant, illegally absconded.

It would be recalled that Binance had a turnover in Nigeria of over US$20 billion in 2023 alone, far above the federal budget for health and education, fueling currency speculation and the cost-of-living crisis. In addition, it is not registered in Nigeria and neither has it ever paid any taxes within the Nigerian jurisdiction, having all the while operated without oversight or any of the normal guard rails to flag criminal activity.

Idris said it is important that Binance is prefaced as an entity whose representatives have been variously imprisoned, fined, sanctioned, and banned in North America, Europe, and Asia, in recent years.

“Changpeng Zhao, the billionaire co-founder and former CEO of Binance is currently serving a four-month prison sentence in the United States after being found guilty of money laundering, while Binance has openly accepted its role in facilitating terrorism, corruption, sanctions busting, and in aiding and abetting paedophile gangs.

“Law enforcement agencies believe Binance operations in Nigeria are part of a broader international pattern. It will be for the courts here, as in other jurisdictions, to hold the company and its executives accountable,” Idris said.




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