Nigeria Wields Binance Exec’s Coworker’s Flight in Bail Hearing

Binance’s Tigran Gambaryan’s bail hearing has kicked off in Nigeria.

Nadeem Anjarwalla facing Binance troubles.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • Bail proceedings have kicked off in the case against Binance’s Tigran Gambaryan in Nigeria.
  • Sentiments over the escape of Gambaryan’s colleague Nadeem Anjarwalla could play a key role in whether the former’s bail application is approved.
  • Anjarwalla fled Nigerian detention after being held for one month with no formal charges.

The Tigran Gambaryan Nigerian detention saga continues.

In February 2024, Binance Chief Financial Crime Compliance Officer Tigran Gambaryan arrived in Nigeria with Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional head for Africa, at the invitation of the Nigerian government to discuss claims that bad actors were using the platform to manipulate the country’s local currency. This seemingly innocuous visit, however, quickly turned into detention as negotiations broke down.

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In March 2024, Anjarwalla fled, leaving Gambaryan to face the music as authorities quickly followed up with tax evasion and money laundering charges. With the latter now seeking bail, having been moved to a federal prison, prosecutors have wasted no time wielding his colleague’s escape against him.

Anjarwalla’s Escape Complicates Gambaryan Hunt for Bail

After spending over two weeks in Nigeria’s infamous Kuje prison while awaiting trial on money laundering charges, on Tuesday, April 23, Gambaryan finally got the chance to make a case for bail. However, amid strong opposition from the EFCC, the Binance executive’s hunt for reprieve looks set to be anything but a cakewalk.

Per local reports, during the hearing, Gambaryan’s attorney, Mark Mordi, SAN, maintained that there was no evidence that his client, who he described as a “state-sanctioned hostage,” was a flight risk. Citing the seizure of his travel documents by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) at the beginning of his detention, Mordi asserted “he [Gambaryan] can’t go anywhere.”

The EFCC, however, held a different view, the key contention being that Anjarwalla’s escape suggested that Gambaryan could not be trusted to stay till the conclusion of legal proceedings.

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“The experience we have had with the man who escaped to Kenya while his United Kingdom passport is in Nigeria will certainly repeat itself if this defendant is granted bail,” the EFCC's lawyer Emeka Iheanacho argued.

To back up this submission, the EFCC attorney further claimed that around the time of Anjarwalla’s escape, the commission had foiled an attempt by Gambaryan to obtain a new passport under false pretenses to flee Nigeria.

Following the back and forth, Nigeria Federal High Court judge, Justice Emeka Nwite disclosed that he would rule on Gambaryan’s bail application on May 17.

Anjarwalla’s Daring Escape 

Anjarwalla reportedly escaped EFCC detention on March 22 by slipping away from his guards after he had been granted permission to visit a nearby mosque to pray during the Ramadan fast. After ditching his guards, the Binance executive is believed to have fled the country on a Kenyan passport he had hidden while submitting other travel documents.

At the time of writing, Nigerian authorities are seeking to extradite the Binance executive from Kenya. Whether and when this effort will succeed remains to be seen despite recent reports suggesting that authorities are hopeful of getting the fleeing Binance executive back in custody within the week.

On the Flipside 

  • At the time of Anjarwalla’s escape, authorities had yet to file any formal charges, only holding the Binance executives on a remand order from the courts in lieu of ongoing investigations.
  • The U.S. government has been noticeably quiet about Gambaryan’s continued detention in Nigeria despite the Binance executive’s impressive track record during his decade-long stint as a special agent of the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Binance maintains that it is still negotiating with Nigerian authorities to have Gambaryan released.

Why This Matters

Gambaryan has spent nearly 60 days in Nigerian custody, 16 of which has been spent in a federal prison that was the subject of a July 2022 Islamic State attack. Whether the Binance executive would get a slight reprieve from this ongoing nightmare could rest heavily on whether the judge believes he is likely to flee like his colleague Anjarwalla.

Read this for more on the Gambaryan detention saga:
Binance Exec Evades Nigerian Tax Case After Fiery Hearing

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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.