US lawmakers search launch of Binance government detained in Nigeria

Lawmakers within the United States of America have requested President Joe Biden expedite the discharge of Binance Executive Tigran Gambaryan, who has been detained in Nigeria for over three months on allegations of cash laundering and tax evasion.

According to a letter dated June 4, obtained by PUNCH Online on Wednesday, the lawmakers addressed Biden, Secretary Antony Blinken, and Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger Carstens, emphasising the necessity for pressing intervention.

The 12 lawmakers who signed the letter argued that Gambaryan was being held unjustly, stating that the allegations towards him have been “baseless” and represented a coercive tactic to strain Binance.

“Clearly, Mr. Gambaryan is a U.S. citizen being wrongfully detained by the Government of Nigeria per 22 U.S.C. 1741 (a)(9) and (10). 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,” a part of the letter reads.

Lawmakers who signed the letter embody Rich McCormick, a member of Congress; Michael T. McCaul, House Foreign Affairs Committee; Barry Loudermilk, a member of Congress; Austin Scott, a Member of Congress; Keith Self, a member of Congress; and others.

In February, the Nigerian authorities arrested Gambaryan, a US citizen, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, on suspicion of cash laundering and tax evasion.

Anjarwalla evaded arrest and fled to Kenya, whereas his colleague remained within the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja.

PUNCH Online reported final month that Gambaryan’s well being took a flip for the more serious when he collapsed in a Federal High Court in Abuja throughout his cash laundering trial.

The incident occurred simply as Judge Emeka Nwite was about to renew proceedings.

The lawmakers lamented that the circumstances of Gambaryan’s detention have been extreme as a result of notoriously harsh circumstances in Kuje jail.

“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,” they said.

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The lawmakers asserted that Gambaryan’s detention meets the factors for being “wrongfully detained by a foreign government,” as outlined within the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act.

They requested that his case be transferred to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.

In addition, they emphasised the necessity for swift motion to make sure the Binance government’s security.

Last month, Chief Executive Officer of Binance, Richard Teng, in a weblog submit, described the detention of Gambaryan by the Nigerian authorities as ‘unjust’ and that it was a “dangerous precedent” for worldwide companies.

Teng additionally claimed that regardless of Binance’s repeated efforts at constructive engagement and cooperation with Nigerian authorities, Gambaryan remained in detention for ‘spurious’ causes.

The CEO declared that inviting an organization’s mid-level workers for collaborative coverage conferences, solely to detain them, had set a harmful new precedent for all corporations worldwide.

“The message from the Nigerian authorities is obvious: we should detain an harmless, mid-level worker, a former U.S. federal agent, and place him in a harmful jail to regulate Binance.

“This regrettable turn of events contradicts the spirit of cooperation and transparency that Binance has consistently demonstrated in its interactions with the regulatory authorities,” Teng added.

The Federal Government stepped up its cryptocurrency crackdown after it banned peer-to-peer buying and selling final month.

The Central Bank of Nigeria initially prohibited monetary establishments from offering providers to cryptocurrency companies in 2021 however reversed this choice in December 2023.

However, issues resurfaced in February about Binance’s actions, together with imposing a worth cap on USDT buying and selling, which reportedly led to the naira’s devaluation and financial instability in Nigeria.



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