Binance Exec’s Nigerian Ordeal Worsens, Sent to Infamous Prison

A Nigerian judge orders the transfer of Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan to an infamous Nigerian prison.

Tigran Gambaryan sitting in a smokey prison cell.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin
  • A judge has ordered the transfer of Binance executive Tigran Gambaryan to an infamous Nigerian prison.
  • The order follows Gambaryan’s arraignment for money laundering charges against himself and Binance.
  • The Binance exec faces potentially appalling conditions in Nigerian prison.

Things continue to go from bad to worse for Binance Head of Financial Crime Compliance Tigran Gambaryan, who has spent six weeks in Nigerian detention after humoring an invitation from authorities to negotiate the resolution of growing tensions with his employers.

On Monday, April 8, the Binance executive was arraigned for money laundering charges, which claim that Binance, himself, and his colleague, who escaped detention Nadeem Anjarwalla, from January 2023 to January 2024, concealed $35.4 million in revenue from unlawful activity in Nigeria. 

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Following the hearing, Gambaryan’s living conditions look set to take a significant hit. A federal judge has ordered the transfer of the Binance executive from the custody of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to an infamous prison pending a bail hearing.

Gambaryan Sent to Infamous Kuje Prison

On Monday, April 8, an Abuja federal high court judge, Justice Emeka Nwite, ruled that Gambaryan be remanded at Nigeria’s Kuje prison pending a bail hearing on April 18. The prison is famous for being the subject of a July 2022 Islamic State attack orchestrated as part of a jailbreak and playing host to several high-profile inmates, including the country’s former central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele. 

According to local reports, the order came after Gambaryan pleaded not guilty to the EFCC’s money laundering charges on behalf of himself and Binance. 

The defense had initially argued that the court could not legally view Gambaryan as a representative for Binance. At the same time,  they had argued for the Binance executive to remain in EFCC detention.

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Justice Nwite, however, disagreed on both counts. Citing a deposition from the defense stating that Gambaryan had visited Nigeria “on behalf of Binance,” the judge concluded that the EFCC’s decision to serve the executive on behalf of Binance was “proper.”

The judge similarly sided with the prosecution as they stated that the Nigerian Correctional Service was the proper place to hold the defendant.

Gambaryan Faces Potentially Appalling Conditions

If the world were to rank prisons by their living conditions, it is unlikely that Nigeria would win any awards. In 2007, Amnesty International described the living conditions of Nigerian prisoners as “appalling,” citing poor hygiene and overcrowded cells. While this report is nearly two decades old, little evidence suggests that much has changed.

At the time of the July 2022 Kuje Prison attack, the facility held nearly 1,000 inmates. Per a security expert, however, the facility was built to host only 560 inmates.

On the Flipside 

  • In an April 3 statement, Binance called on the Nigerian government not to hold Gambaryan accountable for its activities in Nigeria.
  • Anjarwalla’s escape could pose a hurdle to Gambaryan’s plans of securing bail.
  • Before Nigeria filed criminal charges, Gambaryan had launched a lawsuit against the Nigerian government for human rights violations. He asserted in the lawsuit that he was only being held as a bargaining chip in Nigeria’s war with Binance.
  • The Binance executive will be arraigned for separate tax evasion charges from Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on April 19.

Why This Matters 

Gambaryan has been forced to stay without his family for about six weeks. His transfer to Kuje prison marks a significant escalation in his detention and a potential deterioration in his living conditions.

Read this for more on Binance’s Tigran Gambaryan’s woes:
Binance Exec’s “Unlawful Custody” Drags on as Nigeria Fumbles

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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.

Author
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.