FinTelegram Update: Binance Executive Seeks US Government Intervention From Nigerian Detention

Detained Binance compliance officer Tigran Gambaryan
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Tigran Gambaryan, a head of financial crime compliance for Binance at crypto giant Binance, has issued a public plea for assistance from the United States government through a video released from his detention in Nigeria. Gambaryan, the head of financial crime compliance at Binance, confirmed his month-long detention in a video that has gained considerable traction online. The video was recorded in early March 2024 and found its way to X recently.

This development surfaces as the first public communication from Gambaryan since his arrest on February 26, 2024, amid ongoing investigations into Binance‘s operations. Before his role at Binance, Gambaryan was an IRS agent in the United States, emphasizing his lifelong law enforcement career and denying involvement in Anjarwalla’s escape.

“I have nothing to do with it. I was not involved in any of it. They will soon take my phone away. The only thing I asked is that I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been a cop my whole life. I’m asking the United States government to assist me. I need your help guys. I don’t know if I will be able to get out of this without your help.”

Tigran Gambaryan in his video message

The backdrop of their detention aligns with the Nigerian government’s intensified scrutiny over cryptocurrency trading platforms. The officials detained Gambaryan and Anjarwalla shortly after seizing their passports, reflecting a broader crackdown that led Binance to suspend trading of the Nigerian naira against major cryptocurrencies.

In parallel legal proceedings, Binance faces substantial charges in Nigeria, including accusations of money laundering and severe tax evasion involving an estimated $35 million. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in Abuja has specifically accused Binance of failing to meet VAT and company income tax obligations and aiding its users in evading taxes.

As the legal entanglements deepen, the Federal High Court has deferred the ongoing case to May 17, where the accusations will be further examined, including allegations of local currency manipulation by peer-to-peer traders on the Binance platform. Despite the severe charges, all parties have maintained their innocence, pleading not guilty.

This situation remains closely monitored, with significant implications for both the executives involved and broader cryptocurrency regulations within Nigeria.

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