Ex-Federal Agents Demand Binance Exec’s Rescue from Nigeria

Former federal agents and prosecutors join calls demanding the release of Binance’s Tigran Gambryan.

Tigran Gambaryan sitting in a smokey prison cell.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin
  • Former federal agents and prosecutors have joined calls demanding the release of Binance’s Tigran Gambryan.
  • The request from the former agents and prosecutors follows a similar letter from lawmakers.
  • Gambaryan’s situation appears to grow more dire as his incarceration in Nigeria drags on.

In February 2024, Binance Chief Financial Crime Compliance Officer Tigran Gambaryan entered Nigeria on the invitation and safety assurances of authorities to discuss the resolution of rising tensions between the government and his employers. What was supposed to be a routine trip, however, turned into an over three-month-long incarceration.

The country’s National Security Officer arrested the U.S. citizen and former IRS Special Agent as negotiations broke down, and he has since been slapped with charges of tax evasion and money laundering with Binance and another mid-level manager who had taken the trip with him but fled detention before the recent charges.

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The situation has drawn flak from several groups in the U.S. who have called for the Binance executive’s immediate release. These calls have continued to grow as the days pass. The latest to pile on the pressure on the President Joe Biden administration is a group of over 100 former federal prosecutors and agents.

Former Prosecutors and Agents Call on the Government to Step Up Efforts

In a June 6 letter first obtained and reported by Axios, over 100 former federal prosecutors and agents urged the U.S. government to intensify efforts to secure Gambaryan’s release.

"We, the undersigned former federal prosecutors and federal agents, urgently request that the State Department step up its efforts to secure the release of Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen, from custody in Nigeria. The U.S. government's efforts to date have been wholly lacking, and the consequences of further inaction are potentially dire," the group wrote, condemning the government's lackluster response so far.

They asserted that Gambaryan, who had a “tireless devotion to the rule of law,” was “innocent” of the charges against him and was only being held in an attempt to force Binance to settle charges in the West African country.

The group also expressed concern over the Binance executive’s wellbeing, arguing that he has been detained under “deplorable conditions.”

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These sentiments come as Gambaryan has spent the past two months in Kuje prison, one of the country’s most notorious prisons known to have been the subject of a July 2022 Islamic State attack. At the same time, the Binance executive, who has reportedly contracted malaria, has been denied adequate healthcare. He collapsed during court proceedings on May 23. 

The recent letter from the former prosecutors follows a similar Tuesday, June 4 letter from 15 lawmakers, including the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael T. McCaul, requesting an “immediate action” from the government to secure Tigran Gambaryan’s release.

The Binance executive’s fate in Nigeria grows significantly dim, especially since he has been denied bail.

A Flight Risk?

On May 17, the Nigerian Federal High Court Abuja denied Gambaryan bail, deeming the Binance executive a flight risk following the escape of his colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa, months earlier.

The decision came despite arguments from the defense that the Binance executive was effectively grounded in Nigeria as the NSA had seized his travel documents in February 2024.

The Binance executive is expected to appear in court on June 20 and June 21 to continue the proceedings in the money laundering trial.

On the Flipside

  • Nigerian authorities maintain that local laws justify the apprehension and service of Gambaryan as a stand-in for Binance in the ongoing case.
  • Binance agreed to $4 billion in penalties to settle similar charges in the U.S.

Why This Matters

Gambaryan has been incarcerated in Nigeria for over 100 days. The recent letter adds to the pressure on the U.S. government to secure the release of the former IRS Special Agent.

Read this for more on the Tigran Gambaryan detention saga:
U.S. Lawmakers Seek Release of Binance Exec Detained in Nigeria

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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.