US Lawmakers write Biden, Seek Release of Binance Executive Held in Nigeria

A group of US lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden and other top US officials to take immediate action to secure the release of Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive and former federal agent, who has been detained in Nigeria for over three months.

The lawmakers made their intent known in a letter dated June 4, 2024, addressed to President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger D. Carstens.

The letter expressed concerns about Gambaryan’s health and treatment in Nigerian custody.

The letter stated; “Gambaryan, a US citizen and former IRS agent, was detained on February 26 while in Nigeria for meetings on Binance’s compliance issues.” Despite a court order for his release on March 12, he remains in custody, with his detention deemed unlawful by the lawmakers.

The lawmakers allege that Gambaryan is being held hostage by the Nigerian government, which is seeking to pursue legal action against Binance. They said Gambaryan is subjected to harsh conditions, including being held in Kuje Prison, where he has contracted malaria and been denied adequate medical care.

They asserted that Gambaryan’s detention meets the criteria for being “wrongfully detained by a foreign government” and urge the administration to transfer his case to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.

It should be noted that the Nigerian government had accused Binance and its executives, Tygran Gambaryan and the fleeing Nadeem Anjarwalla, of allegedly conspiring amongst themselves to conceal the origin of the financial proceeds of their alleged unlawful activities in Nigeria, including $35,400, 000. 

The Nigerian authorities said they committed an offence contrary to Section 21 (a) and punishable under Section 18(3) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022. 

The article was originally published on Politics Nigeria.

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