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Binance Executives Detained Despite Company’s Withdrawal

In a recent turn of events, despite Binance’s decision to withdraw its operations from Nigeria, two high-ranking officials from the cryptocurrency exchange remain detained in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Tigran Gambaryan, the head of Binance’s criminal investigations team, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, the regional manager for Africa based in Kenya, have been held without their passports for two weeks, as of March 12, according to a report by Wired.

The detention of Gambaryan, a former U.S. federal agent with a focus on cryptocurrency, and Anjarwalla began on February 26, 2024.

Despite the lack of clarity on the presence of criminal charges, the families of both executives have expressed their concern and uncertainty about their loved ones’ wellbeing and future.

Yuki Gambaryan, Tigran’s wife, voiced her frustration, saying, “There’s no definite answer for anything: how he’s doing, what’s going to happen to him, when he’s coming back.”

A Binance spokesperson confirmed the ongoing detention of the executives in Nigeria and stated, “While it is inappropriate for us to comment on the substance of the claims at this time, we can say that we are working collaboratively with Nigerian authorities to bring Nadeem and Tigran back home safely to their families.” Emphasizing their professional integrity, the spokesperson expressed confidence in a prompt resolution.

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The backstory to their arrest follows an invitation from the Nigerian government to discuss a dispute over Binance’s operations in Nigeria, which were deemed unlawful by Nigerian authorities.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla arrived in Abuja on February 25 to meet with officials and discuss the government’s blockade of Binance and other crypto exchanges, accused of contributing to the devaluation of Nigeria’s currency, the naira, and facilitating illicit financial flows.

However, following their initial meeting, the executives were escorted from their hotel to a guesthouse managed by Nigeria’s National Security Agency, where their passports were seized.

Since then, they have been held there against their will, allege their families.

Both Gambaryan and Anjarwalla have received visits from officials of the U.S. State Department and the U.K. Foreign Office, respectively, though their discussions were overseen by Nigerian government guards, restricting private conversation.

This incident unfolded shortly before Binance formally announced its exit from the Nigerian market on March 5, following a series of measures restricting its operations, including the suspension of naira withdrawals and the removal of trading pairs involving the naira, as part of its phased withdrawal strategy.

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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