Binance Exec Fights Nigeria Detention With Human Rights Suit

Binance financial crime compliance chief Tigran Gambaryan challenges his detention in Nigeria.

Tigran Gambaryan of Binance pointing a finger from a prison cell.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin
  • A Binance executive detained in Nigeria as part of the country’s crackdown against the exchange is fighting back.
  • The executive has accused the country of violating his human rights in a scathing lawsuit.
  • The lawsuit is awaiting a response from relevant authorities.

Over the past month, Nigerian authorities have declared war on Binance. Amid a crackdown backed by allegations of currency manipulation, money laundering, and terrorist financing, authorities have moved to block the firm’s website. At the same time, the firm has shut down its naira services. 

The debacle is further complicated by Nigeria’s weeks-long detention of two of Binance’s executives. Following the reported escape of one of these executives last week, the other is advancing a lawsuit in the hunt for his release, questioning the grounds for his detention and slamming authorities for human rights violations.

Binance Executives Only Detained as Negotiation Pieces?

Binance financial crime compliance chief Tigran Gambaryan has dragged Nigeria’s National Security Adviser (ONSA) Nuhu Ribadu and the country’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to court over human rights violations, according to local news reports on Thursday, March 28.


Gambaryan is seeking an order for his immediate release and the return of his travel documents. He is also seeking an injunction against future detentions in relation to Nigeria’s investigation of Binance and a public apology from the ONSA and the EFCC.

In the motion initially filed on March 18, Gambaryan’s lawyers argue that his detention violates personal liberty provisions in Nigeria’s 1999 constitution. 

In a personal statement supporting the suit, Gambaryan submitted that he and his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla had done nothing but dutifully heed the invitation of Nigerian authorities to discuss issues with Binance. He further contested that the only purpose for his detention was to exert pressure on Binance to comply with information requests.


The lawsuit posits that there are other means for Nigerian authorities to communicate with the global crypto exchange, stressing that Gambaryan is not a member of the Binance board.

Anjarwalla had reportedly filed an identical complaint. However, following his reported escape from detention, the future of his complaint is shrouded in uncertainty. In a Thursday hearing, Aluko & Oyebode Partner Tonye Krukrubo announced that the firm had withdrawn their representation of Anjarwalla.

The case will again be brought before Nigeria’s Federal High Court on April 8. The adjourned date allows the ONSA and the EFCC time to respond.

On the Flipside

  • On March 20, Nigerian authorities obtained a second remand order from the Federal High Court to hold Gambaryan and Anjarwalla till an April 5 custody hearing.
  • Nigeria’s tax authorities named Gambaryan and Anjarwalla as the second and third defendants in a lawsuit against Binance for tax evasion.
  • Pro-crypto Nigerians have expressed skepticism at Gambryan’s chances of getting a fair hearing in the West African country.

Why This Matters

Gambaryan has been held for over a month in Nigeria and has been named in a lawsuit against Binance despite not being a part of the firm’s board. Before joining Binance, he served as a U.S. Internal Revenue Service special agent. U.S. crypto advocacy groups have warned that his continued detention risks setting a dangerous precedent of how foreign jurisdictions can treat U.S. crypto workers.

Read this for more on the Binance-Nigeria debacle:

Nigeria Broadens Binance Crackdown with Tax Evasion Charges

Learn more about the Sam Bankman-Fried sentence:

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) Gets 25 Years: Here’s a Full Breakdown

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Okoya David

David Okoya is a crypto news reporter at DailyCoin based in Nigeria. He covers various topics related to the cryptocurrency industry, including exchanges, regulations, and price movements, and strives to bring fresh angles to breaking news. With experience as a freelance crypto news writer, David upholds the highest journalistic standards, telling complete stories and answering lingering questions whenever possible.