Former US prosecutors demand action on Binance exec’s detention in Nigeria


A
group
of
more
than
100
former
US
federal
prosecutors
has
urged
the
United
States
government
to
intensify
efforts
to
secure
the
release
of
Binance
executive
Tigran
Gambaryan
from
Nigerian
custody,
according
to
a
June
6
letter.

Gambaryan,
Binance’s
head
of
compliance,
and
his
colleague
Nadeem
Anjarwalla

were
detained
in
Nigeria
in
February
following
a
contentious
meeting
with
the
African
country’s
government.
While
Anjarwalla
managed
to

escape
in
March,
Gambaryan
remains

imprisoned.

In
the
letter
addressed
to
Secretary
of
State
Antony
Blinken,
the
former
prosecutors
criticized
the
US
government’s
lack
of
action,
warning
of
potentially
dire
consequences.
They

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wrote:

“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.”

‘Unjust
and
inhumane’

The
group
highlighted
Gambaryan’s
extensive
service
in
law
enforcement,
where
he
handled
significant
cases
involving
national
security,
terrorism
financing,
and
identity
theft.

They
assert
his
innocence
and
argue
that
his
detention
is
an
attempt
to
pressure
Binance
into
settlements
with
the
Nigerian
government,
adding
that
his
continued
imprisonment
was unjust
and
inhumane.

They
stated:

“[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.”

Increased
calls
for
diplomatic
action

Notably,
this
appeal
coincides
with
increasing
calls
for
diplomatic
action
on
the
case
between
the
Nigerian
government
and
Gambaryan.

Earlier
in
the
week,
several
US
lawmakers

urged
President
Joe
Biden
to
intervene
in
the
matter
because
Gambaryan
was
being
wrongfully
detained
and
was
charged
with
several
baseless
crimes.

However,
the
Nigerian
government
has
publicly

maintained
its
adherence
to
due
process
in
the
ongoing

legal
proceedings
against
Binance
and
Gambaryan.
According
to
the
authorities,
the
accused
will
have
the
opportunity
to
defend
themselves
against
the
charges
in
court—the
next
hearing
on
the
case
is
scheduled
for
June
20.

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Author: Oluwapelumi Adejumo


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