US Lawmakers Advocate for Release of Binance Executive Detained in Nigeria

Gambaryan, formerly head of financial crime compliance at Binance, has been held since February on charges including illegal operations, currency manipulation, and money laundering, as detailed by Nigerian authorities.

In a diplomatic plea amplifying international tensions, United States lawmakers French Hill and Chrissy Houlahan have called for urgent humanitarian action to secure the release of Tigran Gambaryan, an executive of Binance Holdings Ltd., currently detained in Nigeria.

The legislators, visiting the West African nation under the auspices of national security, voiced grave concerns over Gambaryan’s deteriorating health and the legitimacy of the charges against him.

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Gambaryan, formerly head of financial crime compliance at Binance, has been held since February on charges including illegal operations, currency manipulation, and money laundering, as detailed by Nigerian authorities.

Despite recent developments that saw Nigeria’s tax agency drop accusations of tax fraud against him, a separate money-laundering case persists, exacerbating his legal predicament.

Representative French Hill, a Republican from Arkansas, conveyed distressing news in a video statement, revealing Gambaryan’s dire health condition.

“He has malaria and double pneumonia, and he reports that he has lost significant weight,” Hill remarked, highlighting the urgency of securing his release. Hill was part of a group of lawmakers who earlier addressed President Joe Biden, alleging that Nigeria was unlawfully detaining Gambaryan.

Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, echoed Hill’s sentiments, pledging robust American support to ensure Gambaryan’s safe return home.

“We will be able to put the full force of America behind us to make sure that he is returned home safely,” Houlahan affirmed, emphasizing bipartisan concern over the matter.

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The detention of Gambaryan, accompanied by the escape of a colleague during the same incident, underscores a broader confrontation between Nigerian authorities and Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

The situation escalated dramatically following Gambaryan’s detention, coinciding with Nigerian regulatory actions against cryptocurrency channels amidst a crackdown on financial speculation.

Adding complexity to the case, Binance alleged in May that Nigerian authorities solicited a clandestine payment of $150 million in cryptocurrency to resolve their issues, an accusation vehemently denied by Nigerian officials.

This revelation further strained relations between the company and the Nigerian government, already embroiled in disputes over financial regulations and illicit financial flows.

Nigeria’s stance on the detention has been firm, with government spokespeople dismissing accusations of unlawful detainment while reaffirming their commitment to due process.

The Nigerian legal system proceeded with formal charges against Gambaryan and Binance in April, subsequently relocating him to the high-security Kuje correctional center in Abuja.

The imbroglio involving Binance in Nigeria has deepened amid broader economic implications, including significant depreciation of the local currency, the naira, partly attributed to cryptocurrency activities.

Nigerian central bank officials, citing concerns over illicit financial flows, highlighted substantial monetary transactions through Binance, emphasizing the regulatory challenges posed by such platforms.

Gambaryan’s case represents a critical juncture in the evolving international business and regulatory compliance landscape, underscoring the delicate balance between regulatory oversight and global business operations in the cryptocurrency sector.

As diplomatic efforts intensify to resolve the standoff, the global community watches closely, mindful of the broader implications for international commerce and legal standards.

In response to mounting international pressure and humanitarian concerns, stakeholders await developments in Gambaryan’s legal saga, hopeful for a resolution that respects both Nigerian sovereignty and international standards of justice.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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